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Bringing STEM to Life for Today’s Youth

Author: Danny Ludovina, Project Coordinator

Young students crowd around tables, laying siege to their imaginations as they witness displays of science so elegantly simple; all displays sharing a common goal of sharing science with future generations of thinkers, leaders, maintainers, innovators and most importantly, contributing citizens. Leading such displays were the creative engineering students from San José State University, each planting a concept in the younger students’ minds to develop a hunger to learn more. Elementary school students from various schools around SJSU were chosen to collaborate between generations to inspire not only the young, but the older students to continue feeding their desire to learn more in preparation to become a contributing member of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community. Our SJSU engineering students, totaling 99 individuals, have engaged well over 450 elementary school students throughout the course of the program.

Students participating in a Frisbee toss experiment.
Magnets demonstration

CommUniverCity’s Engineering in Action program is responsible for engaging these future thinkers in science dialogue. Over the course of just a few weeks, we have hosted events at seven venues including: McKinley elementary, Empire Gardens elementary, Third Street Community Center, Washington Elementary, Lowell Elementary, and Grant Elementary schools.

The SJSU student participants hailed from two courses on the same topic: Introduction to Materials. These courses brush on atomic and crystal structures, which reflected through the student projects of whose topics ranged from magnetics to mechanical properties. One group even brought in not one, but two homemade railgun systems! No need to worry, the engineers assured the safety of all participating by practicing the use of safety goggles for all involved. Dr. Oye and Peter’s students captured the young students attention with theatricality, and then engaged them in a lesson to drive the point home. Heartwarming goodbyes were shared between the students, young and old, which shows the strength of the connection that SJSU engineer students made.

Creative lessons on STEM concepts for the students.

We at CommUniverCity look forward to continuing our ‘work’ with our afterschool partners, ThinkTogether, CORAL, and Third Street Community Center to connect more generations to come.

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