Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I’m Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

I recently had a chance to do outreach for fifth graders and teach them a bit of engineering and science. I hadn’t prepared and I was more worried and uncomfortable about teaching this young age than the high school and college kids I’d spoken to in the past.

I planned on doing an old balloon experiment/trick my mom used to do with me when I was a kid. You put a balloon taped to a straw on a string then let go and watch it fly across the room. I remember this from my childhood but I didn’t know if it would stand the test of time. After all these kids had video games and computers and cell phones so what fun could a balloon on a string possibly be?

I arrived on campus with my string and duct tape to hold up the string. Somehow this struck me as funny and potentially hard to explain to authorities. But the ‘experiment’ worked well and was a big hit! It was a blast to teach young minds and I enjoyed the nostalgia from my childhood. I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her how well received her old science trick was.

The kids were adorable and I saw a few eyes light up when I explained the engineering behind the experiments and what I did for a living. I hope my small amount of time was enough to let them know Engineering is a career option and maybe encourage them to try it. Sometimes you just don’t know what your options are until someone informs you. So if you get the chance to teach young’ins I say go for it. It will be a fun day, good growth experience for you and I don’t think you can put a price on helping another person to learn and grow.

Cat “Class Dismissed” Cathy

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