POMI-based STEM education leadership camp

In an absolute absence of learning resources, a piece of very simple technology often serve as an effective tool to instigate scientific inquiry based learning for marginalized children in extremely underserved regions. Interestingly, through our series of experiments, we observed that such simple, yet profoundly rich learning scenario made a lot of sence for classrooms in the developed countries as well. The less you try to teach, (but only prompt them to inquire about real-world phenomena) the more you witness learning and the evidence of "learning to learn" among children. Through our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) hands-on workshop activitites, we attenpt to integrate such welcoming paradox in today's STEM curriculum coupled with a multidisciplinary approach.

The POMI-based STEM workshop activity series is part of the evolving process of reverse innovation in learning science situated in the glocal context. We generally seek learning environments that utilize minimal or easy-to-find or build, yet effective learning resources for children around the world.


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Subject 1: Wind & Energy

• Concepts to cover:
• What is wind? How is it created? How do you measure it? What are clouds?
• Measuring wind velocity

Activity 1: What is Wind?

• Using a single sheet of paper, explore various way of generating wind:
• Run with a sheet of paper
    • Hold the sheet at two adjacent corners and, with the edge you are holding being the leading edge. What happens when you run forward (perpendicular to the leading edge) while you orient it
        • Horizontally
        • Vertically
    • Repeat the previous experiment, holding the paper exactly the same only now run in an angle to the direction of the paper.
    • Place the sheet vertically flat against your chest and run forward.
        • Will it stay while you are running forward without you holding it?
        • What if you run sideways?
    • Goal. Discovery concepts:
        • Wind velocity consists of speed and direction
        • Wind force

Activiti2: Wind Speed?

• Explore various means to measure the speed of the wind:
• Rotary vs. linear
• Stationary vs. moving

Experiment 4: Measuring Wind Speed with iPhone Mounted on Wind-Powered Model Vehicle

• Configurations
    • A small toy vehicle is propelled by wind.
        • A sail is used to propel the car. (The sail is not shown in the images below.)
    • It carries a smart mobile device.
        • The device is used to measure —
            • Distance. Its camera monitors a distance measuring tool (measuring tape, etc.) and software is used to calculate the distance covered.
            • Time. Its built-in stopwatch is used to measure the elapsed time.

• Experiment
  For determining the wind direction see Activity 3, Wind Direction( below.)
    • Align the track (the measuring tape) along the direction the wind blows.
    • Position the toy vehicle upwind, planning for it to move downwind.
        • What happens if you reverse directions?
    • Explore various alignment of the track, having different angles with respect to the direction of the wind.


Activity3: Wind Direction

Figure 6. Wind Vane Made of Index cards and a Straw Pin-Mounted on a Pencil

Subject2: Energy

• Temperature
1. Activity A: Measuring the temperature of the balloon. What happens when hot air is blown on the balloon with a hair dryer? Cold air?
    Supplies: Thermostat, sensors
    Portfolio: Student’s representation and written explanation of data from weather.com.

2. B. Use data from website, weather.com and compare the wind speed of Last two weeks in Bakersfield vs. Sunnyvale? Which is more windy? Why? High altitude vs. low altitude.

Subject 3: Generating Electricity

How do you generate electricity/ power with wind turbine?

Subject4: Balloons

• Concepts to cover:
• What is measurement?
• Weight, matter, volume
• Measure using electronic measurement instrument – measure various objects & compare. Concept – everything has weight.
• Activity: How do we make a balloon stay up in the air without touching the ceiling?
• Supplies: straws, strings, forks, cups, plates, tape, paperclips, ziplock bags, water bottles, napkins, paperclips…
Portfolio: document their findings of how they made the balloon stay up in the air. Take a picture of their final product
and post to e-portfolio.

Activity 4: Helium Balloons and Their Lift Power

• Can you rely on this information for your experiment?
• What are the forces that you need to balance in order to make a balloon buoyant?
• Which objects do you need to weigh?
• Of which objects do you need to need to figure out the volume?
• Is it possible to carry out this experiment simply by trial and error, without making any prior measurement?

Subject5:Atmospheric Pressure

Activity 5: The Weight of the Atmosphere

Figure 9. A Yardstick Perfectly Balanced on the Edge of a Table


Using only a single sheet of newsprint, can you make so it will be impossible to strike the yardstick off the table?


Figure 10. Helium Balloon Buoyant: Lift and Weight Forces Are Balanced

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Faculty Staff

Dr. Paul, Kim
Uri Geva

"POMI-based STEM education leadership camp" is the subproject of POMI in Education.

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