South-Central Section - 46th Annual Meeting (89 March 2012)
Paper No. 16-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

DEVELOPMENT OF EARTH SCIENCE HANDS-ON EXHIBITS FOR STEM ENRICHMENT AT THE ELEMENTARY LEVEL

SOBERY, Angela C., TURNER, David R., and MITCHELL, Evelynn J., Physics and Earth Sciences, St. Mary's University, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228, asobery@mail.stmarytx.edu

St. Mary’s University is a private Catholic and Marianist Liberal Arts Institution located in San Antonio, Texas. St. Mary’s University excels in higher education with a strong foundation in community outreach. Our university resides in an urban area of the city with low income schools and high poverty levels. St. Mary’s is the “Gateway” of education for elementary students to receive hands on experience with real science experiments. In 2003, the faculty and students in the Physics program at St. Mary’s initiated an outreach program called, “The Fiesta of Physics”. This has become a highly successful event which reaches out to area 4th and 5th graders, getting them motivated to learn about science. In January of 2011, the program coordinator, Dr. Richard Cardenas received a Presidential award for STEM outreach. Science educators in our local elementary schools have requested us to develop more Earth Science and Physics experiments in preparation for state testing and advanced science studies. In the fall of 2011, the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences introduced brand-new Environmental Science degrees which combine the teachings of a geological education with other scientific disciplines to study the environment. A natural extension of this program was to develop the requested Earth Science experiments for area school children and add the “Earth Science Extravaganza” to the existing program. The experiments performed in the study of Geology include identifying the rock cycle with the actual Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks. Rocks in the labs underwent hardness tests, acid tests, and Magnetite Ore hunting. Over 300 elementary students engaged in a Geologic adventure thru our Earth Science Museum. The search in the museum included dinosaur fossils, Trilobites, and Earth elements. The Edwards Aquifer, the main source of San Antonio’s drinking water was explained using a physical model to show how water can infiltrate the ground and how wells affect water table levels and ground conditions. The success of the “Fiesta of Physics and Earth Science Extravaganza” was measured by the in depth questions asked by the children, enthusiasm of wanting to touch all the rock samples, and expressing the desire to want to come back next year. Additional exhibits are also planned to take to area schools.

South-Central Section - 46th Annual Meeting (89 March 2012)
General Information for this Meeting

Handouts:

Session No. 16--Booth# 1
Issues in Earth Science Education (Posters)
Sul Ross University: Espino Foyer
9:00 AM-12:00 PM, Friday, 9 March 2012

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 32

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