NSU STEM Outreach aims to spark early student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
About NSU Stem Outreach
The goal of NSU STEM Outreach is to spark early student interest in science, technology, engineering and math and encourage future study of and/or employment in STEM-related fields.
The program began in fall of 2011, when Dr. Alyssa Kiesow recognized a need for supplemental STEM instruction. Soon after, a partnership between NSU's science department, NSU students and area elementary schools was formed.
The STEM Outreach Program provides content and experiments to which students and teachers may not otherwise have access, thus helping create a hands-on learning environment full of exciting, new ideas. It also allows college students - including pre-service teachers - to gain experience in the classroom, as they teach lessons and earn practicum hours.
How does NSU STEM Outreach Work?
Each month, Dr. Amy Dolan and a team of biology and biology education majors make online visits to classrooms to teach students about STEM in an exciting, hands-on way. NSU STEM Outreach has educated students in areas such as ecology, biology, physiology, physics, engineering, and chemistry. Past projects have focused on topics such as predator/prey relations, pollinators, DNA, the brain, density, and pH.
STEM Outreach serves area schools including elementary schools in Britton, Groton and Aberdeen. STEM Outreach also provides anatomy-based tours of Northern's cadaver lab to regional high schools.
- To illustrate predator/prey relationships, students dissected owl pellets (owl waste), found animal bones, and created dichotomous keys. Students passed around real animal skulls, identifying each as predator or prey.
- We measured teachers' brain waves right in the classroom with electroencephalograms (EEGs)! Teachers wore swim caps to mimic a shaved head; electrodes were placed; and students could see brain waves on screen. We used models to discuss the brain's parts and functions.
- We introduced astronomy, discussing solar eclipses and constellations. Students made constellations and created stories to go with them. Students also created a large-scale model of the solar system and visualized distance using inflatable planets and yarn.
- Students investigated their fingerprints and learned about how biology, chemistry and physics blend together in Forensic Science. Students solved a crime by using their knowledge of forensic science, evidence and a chromatography analysis to compare handwriting samples.
STEM Outreach provides a great opportunity for Northern students looking for in-classroom experience, volunteer work, or resume building. Student volunteers work alongside faculty providing STEM education in classrooms. Biology education majors can use STEM Outreach to fulfill Biology 495 requirements. NSU biology and biology education students are crucial to our success!