Science is everywhere at Oak Grove

Friday, May 9, 2014

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

Science is everywhere at Oak Grove Elementary School, and everyone is learning, even the teachers. Teachers at Oak Grove participated in a workshop Wednesday sponsored by the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. The STEM Hub provides a valuable exchange network of ideas and resources for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and network partners to serve the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics needs of the middle region of Tennessee.

Teachers learned to integrate science and engineering practices. They participated in disciplinary core ideas found in the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards with cross-cutting themes to develop performance expectations using robotics. Workshop participants were introduced to concepts in mechanics, electricity, and robotics through hands-on activities and a lecture, and shown how these concepts can be expanded to include: electrons and current flow; simple DC circuits, motors, axles, and wheels; and the application of these concepts to robotics. Not only did the teachers who participated learn a lot about robotics, but they were given materials to use in their classrooms with their students to actually incorporate what they learned. This was a wonderful gift for the teachers. Each gift was estimated to be worth about $500. The workshop was taught by the co-directors of the Robotics Camp at Lipscomb University Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering, Ginger Reasonover and Greg Nordstrom. Nordstrom is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lipscomb. Together these two, with the support of the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub, put together lessons for the workshops and take them to teachers all over Middle Tennessee. "We need engineers, kids are born engineers," said Reasonover.

The teachers aren't the only ones diving into science at Oak Grove. The students have been hard at work enjoying many different experiments. Mrs. McKay's class science project used eggs to show what different drinks can do to your teeth and why it is important to brush your teeth. They used hard-boiled eggs and dipped them into cups of cola, SunnyD, milk, and water. They studied the way each egg looked after being dipped into the cups, and brushed them with toothbrushes and toothpaste. The students were able to see how drinks and brushing affect your teeth.

Three classes at Oak Grove are currently incubating eggs. The students are looking forward to hatching their baby chicks. Once a month, their Monday Morning Scientist, Robert Jackson, comes to the school and works on science and math-related projects with the students. This is an activity the students really enjoy.

Everyone at Oak Grove has been embracing their inner scientist, and enjoying every minute of it.