DUBOIS, Pa. — Penn State DuBois recently hosted 30 students from DuBois Area Middle School for a full day of activities for STEAM Day.
After receiving an introduction to Penn State DuBois and the North Central PA LaunchBox, students were divided into three groups and rotated through different activities. Each group got the chance to visit the Idea Lab on campus to learn about the capabilities it has when it comes to 3D printing, engraving, augmented reality and virtual reality. Students also got the chance to fully experience virtual reality, with each student having the opportunity to use a headset and controls to go on a special trip through the clouds, play games and take part in other experiences, like riding a roller coaster.
Students also got to be part of an interactive presentation on entrepreneurship, given by Brad Lashinsky, program director for the North Central PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois. Information was shared on what entrepreneurship is, what risks and benefits are associated with entrepreneurship and what traits a good entrepreneur has. Students were also tasked with developing an idea for something that they are passionate about that they believe would be a good entrepreneurship idea for the local area.
With this event taking place during the holiday season, each student got to make a Nittany Lion ornament, using 3D printed parts that were made on campus in the Idea Lab.
After a midday break for a campus tour and lunch, students divided themselves up into teams to compete in a distance race for vehicles that they would build. Each group had the opportunity to pick from different sized and shaped plastic bottles to use as the body, and wheels that were all made in the Idea Lab, but made from different materials and contained different designs. Students were tasked with using their engineering skills to make a vehicle that would travel the furthest distance using only air power from a balloon. In addition to choosing the components for their vehicles, students also picked the placement of their axels to try to ensure their vehicle would travel the furthest. Each group could also personalize their design with stickers, ribbons and other craft items. They could also change the profile of their design, if they desired, by adding more weight with sand in specific places.
Once each group was complete with their design, everyone headed to the PAW Center and the gym floor to race their vehicles. Each group was given two chances to send their cars as far down the gym floor as they could, using only air power. Students and teachers discussed why certain vehicles traveled a longer distance than others, and the groups finishing in the top three places each received 3D printed trophies from the Idea Lab.
STEAM education is an approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics as points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. If your school is interested in taking part in STEAM activities at Penn State DuBois, contact Brad Lashinsky, program director for the North Central PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois, via email at [email protected].