MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - I had the distinct pleasure to conduct a seminar for teachers participating in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) summer workshop at Christian Brother High School this week.
The focus of the seminar was how to use visual, simple, hands on experiments to teach some basic principles of science and at the same time to inspire kids to learn more about the principles being taught.
Let's face it, we now live in a fast-paced visual world. The traditional methods of teaching a subject using text books and a chalkboard just don't capture the attention of children these days.
Even smart boards are a bit dated. Kids now seem to learn by watching. Think about it, there is a YouTube video for just about anything and everything.
But, teachers can't just play videos all day. There is still a need for textbooks and the chalkboard has now been replaced by a tablet or iPad in many schools.
When it comes to science there is a way to combine the book, the tablet, and a visual to make learning fun and inspiring.
Working with our summer intern Kalie Pluchel, an aspiring meteorologist and someone who's not as far removed from the classroom as I am, we were able to put together a demonstration of six simple science experiments that taught the principles of temperature, density, pressure, volume, thermodynamics, and weather that was fun, exciting, and a little messy.
These were experiments that were made up of many simple things that most of us have in our homes right now but when put together in the right combination they brilliantly display one or more of the basic concepts of scientific theory or principle.
The teachers had fun watching Kalie and I work in our makeshift lab to produce two great visual effects that brought simplicity to many seemingly complicated aspects of weather and science.
This also inspired the teachers to take some of the experiments another step forward to create other visuals that would expand on those concepts. It was a great day of informative fun and inspiration that hopefully will carry over into the classroom to inspire young minds to further explore learning more about science.
Kalie and I had an absolute blast conducting experiments and if we have the opportunity to do a similar seminar I think we'll incorporate some experiments that include fire.... and we'll be sure to bring a fire extinguisher just in case.