Middle school students discovering science everywhere
Science is part of everything we do, touch, feel or eat, and the students at the New Richmond Middle School got the chance to learn about a few more areas where science is a part of everyday life after making trips to Bosch and Target field.
“Whenever an opportunity presents itself, we try to jump on chances to expose our students to real-world examples where science is being applied,” said Kathryn Geissler, an eighth-grade science teacher and Science Olympiad coach at the New Richmond Middle school. “Both of these groups are really fun to be a part of and they are a great way for kids to get involved if you enjoy science.”
Female middle school students got the chance to learn about science in the real world during a Sept. 30 trip to the Bosch facility in New Richmond, which was geared toward getting female students involved in science.
“Bosch reached out to us at the middle school to organize an event to get girls interested in science, specifically engineering,” Geissler said. “We were thrilled to partner up with them to give our students a look at engineering being used in the real world.”
According to Geissler, the students who toured the Bosch facility learned many things, including what engineering looks like in the real world, as well as what it takes to be a woman in the world of science.
“A number of female engineers took time out of their day to share their stories with the girls - schools they've attended, types of engineering they specialize in, and lots of travel opportunities within their field,” Geissler said. “They were able to tour the plant and see some machinery in motion and talk to the engineers who worked on the project.”
On Oct. 7, members of the middle school’s Science Olympiad team, which is made up of middle school boys and girls interested in science, traveled to Target field to participate in a Science in Baseball event that showed students different ways that science is used in baseball, from finding the “sweet spot” of the baseball bat to the different ways steam can be used to heat the stadium and other parts of downtown Minneapolis.
“The trip to Target Field was our kickoff to the start of our Science Olympiad season,” Geissler said. “Our new team got to see and hear about all the cool energy-saving techniques put into the stadium, like the way steam produced at the next-door Hennepin Energy Recovery Center is used to heat beneath the stadium (as well as other parts of the downtown area) and the rainwater recovery system used to irrigate the playing field.”
While the kids enjoyed spending the day at Target Field, Geissler knows that they also learned a lot of things about how science can be applied to everyday events.
“The event included a tour of the ballpark, including the dugouts, visiting team clubhouse, champions club, club level, and everything in between,” Geissler said. “The ‘science’ was mixed in throughout the tour.”
The Science Olympiad team is a group of students who are interested in science. The group meets at least once a week to prepare for the three competitions the team takes part in every season.
“We compete three times each season and the competitions are a lot like track and field, but instead of running and jumping events students are competing in science and engineering,” Geissler said.“Science Olympiad is a great opportunity for kids interested in science to explore topics that are interesting to them. Some students work on hands-on events that involve building devices that will be tested at the competitions or lab based activities, others focus on studying a topic.”