Once again, UCSB Mechanical Engineering's Prof. Sumita Pennathur is reaching out to local schools and finding new ways to get kids hooked on STEM! In the last year, the Pennathur lab has been able to perform outreach activities with over ten local 3rd grade and 5th grade classrooms in the Santa Barbara and Goleta school districts. These programs have proven so success that Prof. Pennathur has crafted a FOG proposal to continue these outreach projects, all aimed at strengthening STEM initiatives through hands-on, age appropriate curriculum. Her efforts are targeted specifically to low-income, first generation, and underrepresented K-12 students in the Santa Barbara County school districts, and will focus on important STEM concepts like the scientific method, basic fluid mechanics, laboratory safety, as well as cutting edge subjects such as nanotechnology.
Commenting on the exceptionally popular "Candy Chromatography" experiment, one teacher participant responded, "We all loved it - myself and my class! It is definitely something I would be interested in doing again. It was the perfect extension of our study of mixtures and solutions and a valuable hands on lesson in chemistry AND thinking about what does into our food!!! If I was given the supplies and the lesson I might try it on my own...." This teacher's hopes might come true, since Prof. Pennathur has proposed to develop her activities into self-sustainable "learning boxes" that may be purchased by teachers and schools around the country. She envisions that these outreach activities will allow the program to provide these boxes to schools most in need of aid at low or no cost!
To download her lab's project poster, click here.