By Katerina Guerrero, Marketing, SARSEF; Public Ally, AmeriCorps
This year’s AZ STEM Adventure was an amazing time for 4th-8th grade students and educators who participated virtually and in-person depending on which track the school selected. STEM Adventure is a partnership between SARSEF, Pima Community College, Raytheon Technologies, The University of Arizona Office of Early Academic Outreach, Waters Center for Systems Thinking, and Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA).
We had a great virtual attendance from our students with 1,350 joining from five counties across Arizona. Supplies were delivered to each participating classroom so that students could follow along with hands-on activities like a DIY harmonica, polarizing filter exploration, and building the world’s best glider.
“The kids and I really liked being able to follow along on Zoom,” a teacher shared. “They were able to experience a variety of science activities from experts and they were engaged and eager to learn.”
“They really enjoyed this! They were so excited to create gliders and harmonicas and enjoyed the guest speakers and tour through the college. They LOVED knowing that there were 1300 other students going through the journey with us!”
A highlight from our virtual track was our speaker Samatha Brewer from the USA National Phenology Network. She discussed season changes, introduced a citizen science project, and highlighted her plants and some animal friends.
The in-person event at Pima Community College Northwest included 695 students from three Arizona counties. Thirty-nine exhibitors represented a wide variety of science, engineering, technology, and math fields and gave students the chance to try new activities.
“My students LOVED it. One of the best parts for me was hearing students discuss how the exhibits related to lessons they have learned at school. It’s great to hear students make connections to learning and be actively engaged.”
In both the virtual and in-person tracks, teachers received 2-3 hours of professional development and went home with $120 in supplies for several science lessons. In total, 56 teachers received professional development.
“The presentation was engaging and informative. Being able to do the experiments while learning about them really helps me feel confident in bringing science into my classroom,” a teacher shared. “Additionally, the supplies and resources that are provided are amazing. I can’t wait to help my students explore and wonder!”
Thank you to all the partners, volunteers, exhibitors, and presenters who made this a great year for Arizona STEM Adventure! We look forward to seeing everyone next year.