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STEM Explorer Middle School Surface Explorations for 2016-17


Part of the STEM Explorer's mission is to excite middle school students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Middle school teachers who sign up for a visit from the STEM Explorer team have the opportunity to sign up for learning modules that fit into their unique class schedules.  The Surface Explorations are categorized as either "short" or "long".  

"Short" Surface Explorations (Approximately 12-15 minutes)

1.  Welding Simulation:  Students taking part in this module will learn the basics of how to weld without the dangers associated with live equipment.  We use Lincoln Electric welding simulators and have students learn to weld in a virtual environment.  Its more than just a computer app- the students wear the safety helmets and handle all of the equipment just as they would in the real world.  As a matter of fact, the STEM Explorer uses the same training equipment on the vehicle as the Delta College Welding Engineering Technology program uses for initial student training.

2.  "Delta Crime Busters" Forensic Science Microscopy:  Students in this module will learn how microscopic evidence found at a crime scene can help investigators find perpetrators.  Students will use an app developed by Delta faculty and staff in conjunction with microscopes and slide samples to determine which fictitious character broke into the Delta College lab and broke the microscope.

3.  The Basics of 3D Printing:  Participants in this module will learn the "5 Steps of 3D Printing" by watching a short video and solving a puzzle.  Once the puzzle has been solved the onboard Stratasys 3D printer will be triggered to commence its print job.  Students will get to watch the 3D printer as it prints a miniature STEM Explorer.

"Long" Surface Explorations (Approximately 20-25 minutes)

1.  Air Cannons and Parachutes:  Classes participating in this module will be lent eight parachute design kits two weeks prior to the STEM Explorer's visit.  During that time the teacher will provide class time for each of the student teams to research, design, and build three different parachutes.  When the STEM Explorer visits they will get the opportunity to shoot them out of the air cannons and test their models' effectiveness.

2.  Wind Turbine Design:  Team will be provided with a wind turbine kit and will need to determine the best orientation, arrangement, and number of blades for ensuring its most efficient operation.  In the last ten years wind turbine technology has advanced by leaps and bounds.  Delta College offers programs in wind turbine technology, maintenance, and repair.

3.  Human-Powered Electricity Generation:  Classes participating in this learning module will get to generate electricity while pedaling bicycles.  Our bikes are hooked up to specialized athletic trainers that can convert the kinetic energy of the bicycle to electrical energy to power light bulbs, run a fan, or even charge a cell phone.  By pedaling these bicycles student will also learn first hand how much energy is required to "burn" calories from some of their favorite foods.

4.  Human-Human Neurotransfer:  Students who choose to do this activity will get to experience what it feels like to be truly "controlled" by another person.  One partner is the "controller" and the other is the "controlled".  Both students are connected to electrodes, an Arduino computer and a TENS unit.  When one student flexes her forearm the other student involuntarily flexes her pinky and ring finger.  This happens when the TENS unit amplifies the electrical signal from the controller and stimulates the ulnar nerve of her partner.  Students may even choose to switch roles. 


A sampling of what the STEM Explorer has to offer in 2016-17

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