Parents Get a Hands-On-Minds-On Introduction to STEM Education

on April 7, 2012 in Presentation Reflections

Eighty parents recently took part in a hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workshop during the Expanding Your Horizons Conference held at University of Central Florida February, 2012. During the one hour STEM workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski parents conducted investigations with super-absorbing polymers, they also took part in the Marshmallow Challenge. The goal of the Marshmallow Challenge is to build the tallest free-standing structure within 18 minutes using only the following materials (20 spaghetti sticks, one yard of string, one yard of tape, and one large marshmallow). At the end of 18 minutes the structure must be free-standing, holding the marshmallow on top. I have found the Marshmallow Challenge to be a fantastic exercise to incorporate in my STEM teacher training sessions. To build a successful structure group participants must collaborate, communicate, and work as a team. It’s quite fascinating to observe the differences in how the individual groups go about designing, building and testing the structures. For more information about the STEM teacher training and STEM family science nights check out my teacher training website

The following video highlights parents conducting investigations with super-absorbing polymers, and taking part in the Marshmallow Challenge.