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STEM/K-12 Education

LACMRERS is an important educational resource for students in many fields of study, including engineering, biology, English, and more.

A water-quality class is held every summer at LACMRERS, with significant time spent in the field on the Mississippi River.

Short courses for international students are a popular new innovation at LACMRERS, and a recent STEM festival (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) drew hundreds of K-12 students and their parents to the research station (see photo at right).

In addition, LACMRERS research staff have developed manuals on their current modeling tools that can be accessed by educators.

 

In the news:

Fish hatchery will host STEM celebration, and you can help plan it

Engaging future engineers — event touts the benefits of STEM instruction

iExplore STEM Festival comes to Muscatine

SE Iowa STEM Festival (Facebook)

By IIHR:

A Celebration of Discovery

May 30, 2014

A child checks out what is under the microscope at the 2014 LACMRERS IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 3.

AA child checks out what is under the microscope at the 2014 LACMRERS IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 3.

The Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS) once again welcomed hundreds of K-12 students and their families to an event celebrating education and discovery. The IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 3, allowed students to experience science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a variety of hands-on activities. The mighty Mississippi provided a beautiful backdrop for the event on a sunny, clear spring day.

One of the day’s highlights came when University of Iowa College of Engineering Dean Alec Scranton and Provost Barry Butler demonstrated the properties of various items when plunged into liquid nitrogen. David Loebsack, U.S. representative for Iowa’s second congressional district, was also in attendance, along with Jared Hershberger, Iowa’s district representative in Loebsack’s office.

But as far as celebrities go, it’s hard to top Herky the Hawk, the University of Iowa mascot. Cy, his colleague from Iowa State University, was there too. Despite the intense athletic rivalry between the two schools, no feathers flew on this particular day!

The STEM festival featured 30 exhibits and four demonstrations. One particularly popular exhibit was the interactive flood model demonstrated by Iowa Flood Center engineers. Other exhibits included: a demonstration of generating electricity with a bike; polymers; fish growth and development; a demonstration by the Iowa Physics Team; robots and robotics; lens and the human eye; and navigation on the Mississippi River, just to name a few. Many Muscatine businesses contributed to the event, and provided funding for almost 30 prizes awarded to students who completed a punch card proving they had visited at least 10 exhibits. The prizes included an iPad mini, iPod Nanos, numerous gift cards, and even a $500 scholarship to Muscatine College for juniors and seniors.

Herky hugs a new friend at the STEM festival.

Herky hugs a new friend at the STEM festival.

LACMRERS is a unit of IIHR, and part of the UI College of Engineering. Other sponsors of the day’s events included: John Deere, Muscatine Schools, Muscatine Power and Water, HNI, Muscatine Chamber of Commerce, Stanley, GPC, Monsanto, and Muscatine Magazine.

LACMRERS Education

September 6, 2013

LACMRERS is an important educational resource for students in many fields of study, including engineering, biology, English, and more.

A water-quality class is held every summer at LACMRERS, with significant time spent in the field on the Mississippi River.

Short courses for international students are a popular new innovation at LACMRERS, and a recent STEM festival (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) drew hundreds of K-12 students and their parents to the research station (see photo at right).

In addition, LACMRERS research staff have developed manuals on their current modeling tools that can be accessed by educators.

Fun, Learning, and Herky Come to LACMRERS

June 18, 2013

It was a soggy, rainy day, but that didn’t discourage more than 500 people from taking part in the IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 4, at the Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS) on the banks of the Mississippi River near Muscatine.

A child plays a game that ____.

A child plays a game related to science learning at the 2013 LACMRERS IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 4.

K-12 students were able to experience firsthand how fun science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be. A variety of hands-on activities were set up, including an interactive flood model from the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) and the National Weather Service, an opportunity to build a robot with the Iowa State Extension Office of Muscatine County, and the chance to run through a pit filled with gooey, oozy glop called “oobleck” (a fluid made of cornstarch and water), sponsored by GPC.

Even more exciting, a celebrity stopped by to take in the event. Herky the Hawk, the University of Iowa’s famous feathery mascot, checked out the exhibits, posed for photos, and exchanged high-fives with the kids (and their parents).

Matt Wunsch, an IFC graduate student and a volunteer at the STEM fest, said that the best part of the day was talking with the kids – some of whom stopped by more than once to see the interactive flood model demo. “A few kept coming back, just to watch again,” Wunsch says. “That showed we were reaching the kids in an exciting way that they would come back wanting to learn more.”

Kids loved this slimy, gooey glop — called “oobleck” (a fluid made of cornstarch and water), at an exhibit sponsored by GPC.

Stanley Consultants President and CEO Gayle Roberts spoke to the crowd, sharing some of her own inspiring experiences an engineer. Later in the afternoon, UI College of Engineering Dean Alec Scranton presented a demonstration titled “Fire and Ice.” Scranton showed the crowd what happens to items such bananas, gummy bears, and flowers when dipped in liquid nitrogen. By igniting a spark in a clear jug of ethanol vapor, Scranton also demonstrated how quickly a colorful flame spread through the vapor.

The rain outside the tents didn’t seem to keep anyone from having fun. “Though it was pouring most of the day, hundreds of kids (and parents) stopped by all the booths and were all eager to watch and learn,” says Scott Rowe, a STEM fest volunteer and IFC graduate student. “We did not have very cooperative weather, but the event was a success because the participants had a great time.”

The Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS) hosted the IExploreSTEM fest on May 4. Learn more about LACMRERS at www.iihr.uiowa.edu/lacmrers.

Herky demonstrates _____.

Herky demonstrates an IIHR water quality sensor at the 2013 LACMRERS IExploreSTEM Festival on Saturday, May 4.

The iExploreSTEM festival at LACMRERS was a part of Living with Floods, a statewide series of events that marks the fifth anniversary of the historic Iowa floods of 2008, and recognizes and celebrates the strength and resiliency of Iowans in the face of repeated flood events. The culmination of Living with Floods will be a free public performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on June 11 at Riverside Park in Muscatine.

In addition to IIHR and the Iowa Flood Center, the planning committee included: Tim Bower (John Deere), Diane Campbell (Muscatine Schools), Tina Campbell and Holly Jacobi (Muscatine Power and Water), Tammi Drawbaugh (HNI), Greg Jenkins (Muscatine Chamber), Ray Lukkarien (Stanley), Janet Morrow (Muscatine Magazine),  and Kevin Schilling (GPC). Ken Snyder with the Iowa DNR graciously opened up his nearby fields for parking to accommodate parking.

Several UI departments and units are collaborating on Living with Floods; these include the Iowa Flood Center, Hancher, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, the UI colleges of education and engineering, the Department of Health and Human Physiology, and the State Hygienic Laboratory. These UI partners are engaging with seven communities across the state, including Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, and Muscatine. Throughout the spring of 2013, Living with Floods is sponsoring community forums; STEM learning events for K-12 students; and free community concerts in the partner communities. Sponsors of the LACMRERS iExploreSTEM Festival also include: Kent Corporation/GPC, Muscatine Community College, Monsanto, HNI, Carver Pump, Central State Bank, Stanley Consultants, Sycamore Printing, Iowa’s Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Hy-Vee, and the Muscatine Community School District.

For information on Living with Floods, visit www.iihr.uiowa.edu/livingwithfloods.

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Posted on September 5th, 2014

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