By David Talley | Wise County Messenger
More than 900 fourth-graders from schools in Wise, Jack and Parker Counties poured through the hallways of Weatherford College Wise County’s campus Thursday in pursuit of college readiness.
CHALKING UP NEW KNOWLEDGE – Triston McCarty shows off his artwork at Weatherford College Wise County’s STEMania Thursday. Students visited learning stations as part of a push to make science, technology, engineering and math fun. Messenger photo by Joe Duty
Post-secondary education may be years away for the students, but WCWC Dean Matt Joiner said the college’s STEMania (Science Technology Engineering and Math) event helps young students start thinking about their own interests and what further education their future may hold.
“It’s taking the mystery out of what college is,” Joiner said. “It’s not that scary place adults go. It’s full of people who care.”
As part of the event, students split into groups by class to tour various STEM-themed stations throughout campus. Each featured hands-on activities and valuable lessons.
“It’s because we know that they’re most engaged when there’s something for them to do with their bodies – their hands, their feet, their eyes and ears,” he said.
“Their whole body is part of the learning process. It’s something they’re going to remember.”
The event featured 60 stations, but due to time constraints, most groups visited 10 to 12. While students were with assigned group leaders, teachers were encouraged to visit stations their groups might miss to get lesson ideas for their own classrooms.
Now in its fourth year, Joiner said he’s watched the day grow from 500 students to almost 1,000. The 2016 event brought in almost that many volunteers and had multiple local and national sponsors.
While students outside checked out a catapult, remote-controlled rovers and kinesiology-themed bounce houses, a small jazz band played inside, demonstrating the effects of sound waves.
Upstairs, students toured the college’s medical lab and simulated hospital and listened to lessons on architecture and biology.
“Believe it or not,” Joiner said, “when [students] go into ninth grade, they have to choose a route for graduation, whether it’s a technical route or more traditional. We’re just trying to get their juices flowing to begin thinking about what they want to do when they graduate.”
Read original Wise County Messenger Article.