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Middle School Scientists Soar During STEM Field Trips

There is no doubt about Sanford’s commitment to providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities for its students. The campus is home to a state-of-the-art STEM lab, a woodworking shop, classrooms that boast access to the latest in technology, and lessons purposefully designed to afford students of all grade levels with exciting explorations with STEM curriculum.
Recently, Middle School Science Instructor Beth Whipple planned field trips for her fifth and sixth-grade students that allowed them to see STEM in action in other venues. Students in grade five traveled to the University of Delaware to learn about careers in engineering, touring both the engineering labs and a clean room, where they learned about nanotechnology.

Andrés Ramos shared: “We learned about nanoparticles, which are tiny particles that can fight different kinds of cancers. Then we got to build our own model, which was really neat!” Avery Bollman stated: “I really liked how we saw microscopic pictures of things like fungi, different diseases, and riverbeds. They were all so beautiful, and they looked like art.”

Dr. Lon Schlussel, whose son Orion is in the sixth grade, generously made it possible for the sixth graders to travel to Baltimore, MD to attend IFLY. This trip provided hands-on STEM learning, where the students were able to experience flying (check out the video below) in the vertical wind tunnel with trained instructors. Prior to “take-off”, instructors helped the students learn how to hold their bodies to remain neutrally buoyant and how to turn left and right. Matthew Zhou and Orion demonstrated their advanced skills by flying together and doing turns and dives.

At IFLY students participated in a STEM lab where they used different types of spheres to determine how mass and surface area impact an object’s ability to float. During this memorable and exciting field trip, students were able to connect previous classroom experiences in math when calculating area and volume and from their science classroom where they were building wind turbines and determining wind speed.

Nikil Patel summed up his feelings by explaining: “I was so nervous when we arrived. My legs were shaky at the thought of flying, but I still tried it. It was great to be able to do something I didn’t think I could do!” Katie Adamopoulos noted: “I thought I wouldn’t be able to fly until I went to IFLY. At IFLY, you learn about different velocities and what position makes you able to fly.”

Both trips provided some of Sanford’s youngest scientists with eye-opening experiences that expanded their horizons when thinking about opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
    • IFLY

      Middle School students Matthew Zhou and Orion Schlussel fly in a vertical wind tunnel during their IFLY experience.

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