The Science Discovery team has had the pleasure of working with Colton Hall for the past two years in a variety of capacities—as an instructor, a teaching assistant and a member of the materials team. Colton is a junior at CU majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in economics and has a genuine passion for spreading his love of all things STEM. This love of STEM coupled with his excitement for exposing kids to new STEM topics led us to develop Colton’s Corner! From time to time, this feature will bring you:
- Fun science facts
- Engaging games and puzzles
- Ideas for “Science at Home” activities…and much more!
This week, Colton brings you a DIY air hockey table! With a few easy-to-find materials, you can create this awesome boredom-buster.
- Cardboard boxes/scraps
- Duct tape
- 2 rolls of duct tape
- 2 small wooden dowels
- A light coaster or wooden disk
- 2 felt circles the size of duct tape rolls
- Any type of material (to use as a net for each goals)
- Pick a table
- Adhere the cardboard to the table, creating a frame
- Cut out equal sized holes on each end for the goals
- Create a fabric pouch and attach it to each goal
- Insert wooden dowel into the center of each duct tape roll; use duct tape to secure dowel in place
- Glue felt circles to the bottom of each duct tape roll
- Commence play!
As part of our mission, we are always looking for ways to increase STEM literacy and connect students to current CU science. We are fortunate enough to be able to utilize CU Boulder’s scientific resources, facilities and expertise to excite students about STEM, expose them to a variety of STEM careers and professionals, and inspire a future generation of scientists and engineers. Our goal with every camp experience is to create a harmonic convergence of all branches of our mission. This week’s Aerodynamics of Flight camp is doing just that.
Plett gives instruction on how to properly launch a student’s aircraft creation.
High school teacher and camp instructor, Plett Gerardy has spent many summers with Science Discovery, sharing her love for things that fly and blast-off with campers of all ages. As a teacher of chemistry, physics and math, she clearly demonstrates a passion for STEM education. Assisting her this week is teaching assistant (and future Air Force pilot!) Thomas Konnert—a senior majoring in aerospace engineering. Campers are spending the week gleaning knowledge from two STEM academics—one on the collegiate leg of his journey and one inspiring others in a STEM career (I mean, how many teachers do you know who have their own Facebook Fan Club?!). Students are enjoying touring CU’s Aerospace Engineering department while learning about the trials and tribulations of designing aircrafts.
Thomas uses his expertise to explain the effect of launch angle on flight distance.
When asked to reflect on his summer with Science Discovery, Thomas stated, “It feels great to be able to teach and inspire kids who will be our future engineers and scientists.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
A camper carefully adjusts the wings of her aircraft.
Waiting is the hardest part! Once the wings have been applied, the glue must dry.
This summer, CU Science Discovery has had the pleasure of working with nine St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) students as part of the Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) pilot program. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the REM program was designed to provide research experiences and mentoring opportunities to STEM students that may ultimately influence their career path. Our student group worked with three SVVSD teachers and two mentors—one STEM Academy graduate slated to attend CU in the fall and one CU undergraduate student from the School of Engineering. The six-week program kicked off with a week of CU Boulder laboratory tours, designed to provide inspiration for the projects they would be working on in the coming weeks. The students were divided into three teams and met daily at the Innovation Center in Longmont to work on projects of their own choosing:
- The Smart Shirt team designed a shirt using conductive thread and a LilyPad Arduino board that displays a person’s pulse via an LED light on the shirt.
- The Smart Toy, by the Toy Tech team, is a stuffed animal housing a Raspberry Pi computer that can be programmed to remind children to complete specific tasks.
- The Flow Visualization team created a standards-based teaching kit for junior high teachers to help them bring scientific fluid concepts to students lacking an interest in science.
Many thanks to all of our CU partners for making these projects possible!
Explaining the inner-workings of the Smart Shirt.
Displaying the functionality of the Smart Shirt. See the LED at the top of the “S”?
Programming the Smart Toy for a demonstration.
The Toy Tech team explaining how the Smart Toy works.
The Flow Visualization team explaining the contents of their teacher kit.
Further explaining the contents and packaging of their kit.
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