CSM Hosts County Fifth Graders for Awesome Day of Science
Hey, I have two left feet, called out Ross Lester, a fifth-grader in Mary Butzs class at Calvert Elementary.
With all the commotion in the biology lab at the College of Southern Marylands Prince Frederick Campus, no one noticed. In fact, as most of the students were rushing around with armfuls of model skeleton parts, Lesters pronouncement wasnt out of the ordinary on this day.
Along with students visiting the physics and computer labs, fifth-graders in the biology lab were enjoying a day exploring science and technology careers with a little help from CSM faculty and student volunteers.
The Calvert Elementary College Day 2016 field trip is part of Better Education Together, a partnership between CSM and Calvert County Public Schools aimed at generating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and post-secondary education. Future such field trips are planned with the goal to have every fifth-grader in Calvert County visit one of CSMs campuses.
The day started with a welcome from CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. College is for everyone, he said. The key is to be thinking, not just about graduating from high school, but beyond high school, Gottfried added.
Another welcome came from CSM Vice President and Dean of Prince Frederick Campus Charlene Cole-Newkirk: This is your campuswe want you to think about coming here after high school.
In the computer lab, Professor of Information Technology Services Joe Burgin introduced students to the world of computer programming in his Make Your Own Computer Game session. Twenty students from Anne Piccolis class, each with their own workstation, started their day creating customized games similar to the 1970s table tennis computer game Pong.
A further collaboration brought students from CSMs teacher education programs to the campus to help the fifth-graders maneuver from class to class and guide them with their projects. The CSM student volunteers completed a 45-minute training session with Burgin the day before so they would be able to help the fifth-graders.
Students selected from a wide range of subjectsmarching elephants, basketballs, cheeseburgers, penguinsto make their games unique.
You will get a CD copy of your game to work on back at your school, said Burgin to loud cheers from the class. He was a rock star.
In the biology lab, Professors Melanie Osterhouse, Tom Poe and George Spiegel led students in a lab experiment called Dead Mans Tales where students had to construct an entire human skeleton from a pile of bones and then determine through measurements and calculations if it belonged to a man or a woman.
Anything that the kids do that is hands-on, they remember, said Butz. These kids will remember this day years down the road, she added.
That is what organizers of the event are hoping.
A month before, CSM Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Farinelli, Calvert Supervisor of Elementary Education, Science, JoAnn Roberts, Burgin, Poe, Spiegel and others brainstormed on how to provide the Wow! factor to students to get themand keep theminterested in STEM fields.
In Physics Professor Richard Beers lab room the wow factor came in the form of hair-raising and mind-boggling feats of force, energy and motion.
When the day was over, Calvert Elementary students were still full of energy, jazzed by the events of the day, their brains overflowing with scientific knowledge, and hands filled with mementos of their experiences.
With everyone assembled for closing remarks, Gottfried invited all the students to Kids College summer programs and Saturday Discovery classes held throughout the year.
Gottfried, Newkirk and Farinelli then invited each student to receive a certificate. These certificates say that you are accepted as a student at CSM when you graduate from high school, said Gottfried. This is your ticket to college.
When asked how he liked coming to the college, Tyler Simms from Piccolis class said, This day was awesome!
Apparently, the Wow! factor worked.
For information on CSMs Kids and Teen College programs which include Saturday Discovery classes, visit http://www.csmd.edu/KidsCollege/Spring2009.html.
Barstow Elementary fifth-graders are scheduled to attend College Day 2016 on Friday, Jan. 30.