News from the STEM Office
San Diego Science and Engineering Festival
Posted on: March 24, 2014 08:00 EDT by Sarah Durkin
Naval Academy faculty member, Mark Murray, Mechanical Engineering, along with 6 midshipmen, traveled to San Diego, CA to host a booth at EXPO Day on March 22, 2014 as part of the San Diego Science and Engineering Festival. EXPO Day, held at PETCO Park, is the San Diego's Science and Engineering Festival’s culminating event with more than 130 organizations providing interactive, hands-on activities showcasing STEM.
More than 1200 kids along with their parents visited the USNA STEM booth at the fair. In a short time, kids had a chance to learn what it's like to be a scientist or an engineer.
Midshipmen helped kids perform a variety of experiments to investigate fluids principles, such as Bernoulli's Law, Lenz's Law, hydraulics, and thermodynamics. Using a simple bell jar and vacuum pump, kids performed experiments to learn about pressure, sound, and air resistance. As naval architects and engineers, kids designed and built boats out of aluminum foil, and competed to build a boat that could hold the most marbles without sinking. Kids engineered their own electrical circuits using batteries, LED lights, and homemade conducting playdough.
"The reason I love doing STEM is seeing the kids experience the “light bulb moment” when their eyes light up after seeing an experiment," said MIDN 3/C Luke Riewestahl.
"The STEM trip to San Diego was absolutely fantastic and not just because of the weather, which was beautiful by the way," added MIDN 3/C Montana Geimer, "I was able to share my passion for the sciences and for my major in a casual setting. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to spend their day jabbing LED’s and batteries into play-dough just to force the LED’s into the forward bias region."
MIDN 1/C Grant Page commented, "If I had to pick one thing or moment that meant the most to me on this STEM trip, it would be seeing kids/adults of all ages get excited about science and engineering topics. In addition this venue helped improve my teaching skills to people of all ages, and I know this will be a very useful tool in the fleet."
"Demonstrating science experiments with the students of San Diego to discover what was happening and how it was happening was an awesome experience," said MIDN 3/C Rylan Tuohy, "As if the science we were showing was a puzzle, each and every kid thought their way through the problem... no matter how right or wrong. After guidance from a Midshipman, they were empowered knowing that they came to a conclusion on their own. This type of hands-on learning was an incredible experience of which I was fortunate to be a part."