IVINS – At Red Mountain Elementary School’s Super Science Day 2012, students experienced hands-on learning in a variety of fun and exciting experiments.
Red Mountain is part of the STEAM program, which integrates science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics into all curriculum areas. The school has emphasized technology education for the past five years, and last year began working with Southern Utah University and Dixie State College of Utah to provide STEAM opportunities to its students.
“Being a STEAM school provides opportunities for (our students) to learn required course material with engaging, real-world experiences that will prepare them for an increasingly technological future,” staff developer Sherri Lords said.
Each school year, Red Mountain hosts five special days focusing on the STEAM disciplines: Super Science Day, Terrific Technology Day, Exciting Engineering Day, Awesome Art Day and Mighty Math Day. All students participate a variety of hands-on activities that give them the opportunity to not only learn, but apply their classroom curriculum.
Students do the activities in groups or pairs to promote teamwork, leadership and cooperative problem-solving.
“I believe in partnerships,” fifth grade teacher Mark Powell said. “The kids have to learn to work together to get things done.”
Science Day 2012 was held Monday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Kindergarten students learned about how easily germs spread and the importance of keeping hands sanitary. In a darkened room, teacher Susan Moore shone a blacklight over the members of her class, causing bacteria on their skin to glow.
In the first grade, students put on protective goggles and mixed their own artificial snow using household items. They then rotated to lessons in natural magnets and how submarines use oxygen to function underwater.
Second grade students used a popular toy, the bubble wand, to demonstrate the unique balance of air and liquid that causes bubbles to form. They also participated in possibly the most exciting experiments of the day, Make Your Own Volcano and exploding soda bottles, an example of the chemical reaction set off by the mix of carbonation and artificial sugar.
The third grade learned about the cycles of the moon, vacuums and the human digestive system, while the fourth grade studied the water cycle, fossils and created balloon rockets.
Fifth grade students participated in a crime scene investigation game, using DNA patterns to identify a suspect. They also studied motion and movement and made their own “goop balls” demonstrate changes in matter.
“We had cornstarch and (water) and had to mix it,” fifth grader Jessica Alldredge said. “Now it’s all sticky.”
Fellow fifth grader Ryan Henderson said, “This is fun because you get to mess with it plus you get to keep it.”
Lords said that STEAM days is just one of many educational events that Red Mountain will host with the support of parents, teachers and the Washington County School District.
“This is just a small part of what we do,” she said. “We feel (it is) important (to provide) activities like this for our students that will make them want to come to school and show them that learning is fun.”
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