Second Graders Introduced to STEM at UI

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forty second grade students from Twain Elementary in Iowa City, their teachers, who are alumni of the University of Iowa, and several parents were hosted by UI’s College of Education and College of Engineering in December.  Iowa NSF EPSCoR diversity taskforce member and Associate Dean for Diversity and Outreach for UI’s College of Engineering, Tonya Peeples was instrumental in ensuring students participated in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activity during their visit. 

University of Iowa College of Education undergraduates in a primary literacy methods course within the teacher education program had been visiting Mark Twain Elementary School throughout fall semester to participate in a “buddy” program to help build the children’s reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.  Second grade students were invited to the University of Iowa as a culmination of the program.

Students worked in teams and practiced communication and leadership skills to build towers using marshmallows and dried spaghetti for a STEM activity at the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences. This activity introduced students to concepts in civil and mechanical engineering.

Peeples also invited SE Regional STEM Hub manager Kristine Bullock, another University of Iowa alumni, to volunteer at the event and visit the UI College of Engineering.

“K-12 outreach in the College of Engineering is a way to introduce young students to the STEM fields and careers,” said Tracy Peterson, director, Diversity and K-12 Outreach for UI’s College of Engineering. “Getting students exposed to positive STEM experiences at an early age helps to nurture their interest in STEM areas and that could invigorate their interest in future years.”