Students at Middleburgh Elementary School had a unique learning opportunity on Nov. 14 when a museum came to them. The Traveling STEAM Museum gave students hands-on opportunities to learn about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics with learning stations on biology, building, chemistry, optics, 3D printing and virtual reality.
Mobile Ed Productions presenter Peter Betti said the exhibits offer students an accessible way to understand complex concepts. When students enter the room, Betti talks to them about the scientific process of observation, hypothesis formation, experimentation, data collection and drawing conclusions.
“There are some things you can’t learn from a book,” Betti said. “Kids can relate to these lessons because they are exploring science in a practical way. For example, the table on lasers and optics is a way to understand Newton’s prism experiment.”
Betti pointed out that some of the ideas elementary students get to work with at the traveling museum are concepts they traditionally wouldn’t work with until their high school years.
Many students gravitated toward virtual reality headsets that gave them the sensation of being in the Amazon, at historic parks, and even traveling with the Mars Rover.
“I saw parrots on a mountain,” said Meia (grade 5). “It was really realistic; I almost fell!”
Her classmate, Aubriana was engrossed in building with gears and geometric shapes.
“Trying to put the shapes and gears together is a challenge, but I like to play,” said Aubriana.
The traveling STEAM museum was open to students in K-6. Student volunteers from the high school helped the children at many of the learning stations and were able to answer their unique questions. At the biology table, a grade 4 student looked at a bug encased in glass and admitted that they thought it was disgusting. Senior Liam Hooper pointed out that bugs can be beneficial creatures. Hooper was happy to act as a mentor for the day.
“I remember when I was in elementary school, it was cool to see the older kids, so I thought it would be nice to help,” Hooper said. “I take AP environmental science and will major in environmental science next year.”
Mobile Ed Productions will bring two more presentations to elementary students this school year, including a portable planetarium in February and a demonstration on wellness, goal setting, and overcoming obstacles in May.