The evolving world of science
Science has evolved over the years. The many varieties of science are all about exploration and discovery. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are an important part of our country’s future. So, how do we engage our students?
Experiential learning, or hands-on learning, in the sciences is what makes learning science more fun. Such learning opportunities, coupled with visual and engaging activities, play a significant role in making the learning of science enjoyable and meaningful.
Together, with other disciplines, science has the capacity to teach concepts that apply to real world problems and create potential solutions. These collaborations can then impact and educate communities.
In order to make scientific concepts more understandable and relatable, the concepts have to be applied to an activity that currently affects the learner.
For example, Fulton Montgomery Community College sponsors several science conferences to introduce students to many activities that involve STEM topics. Two of these conferences are the “Future Women of Stem,” which brings local middle school girls to FMCC to participate in multiple STEM activities, and the “Stem @ FM” conference sponsored by the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program at FMCC, which brings local high school students to FMCC.
“Future Women of Stem” includes topics such as health care connections, DNA extraction, insight into dentistry, game-based learning, bottled water wars, chemical reactions, building mobile racers, lego building challenge, and designing marble mazes.
“Stem @ FM” includes topics such as practicing routine X-ray positioning, nursing opportunities, Lego building challenge, anatomy through dissection, the history of automation, and careers in forensic sciences.
Each of the sessions experienced by the participating students were taught by FMCC faculty and staff, and assisted by many volunteers from the FMCC Liberty Partnerships Program and Science and Technology Entry Program and FMCC’s CSTEP program.
In addition to conferences held on FMCC’s campus, faculty and staff head out to the communities to teach science, promote science education at all ages and levels, and even judge elementary school Science Fairs.
The LPP/STEP program participates in Saturday Academy, STEP after school activities, and STEP competitions. Activities such as balloon racers, recreating the respiratory system, puff mobiles, and solar ovens are just a few examples that give students more opportunities to make science more understandable and relatable.
Science is everywhere and influences so many different things in our world. It is important to share with students that science is part of our daily lives, from cooking to gardening, from recycling to using a computer. Science has influenced the medical field, different types of technology, as well as, the environment. Advances in different types of technology and science are constantly changing our world at an incredible pace. By incorporating more experiential learning opportunities in and out of our classrooms and labs, our future Scientists will experience and appreciate advances we can only imagine.
Flor Trespalacios is an Instructor of Health Studies/Health Sciences at FMCC and Laurie Lazinski is an assistant professor of chemistry and the Science Division Chair at FMCC.