Wallace State holds STEM Academy for area fifth graders

Oct 28, 2021
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HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were the focus of the Fall 2021 session of Wallace State Community’s College’s STEM Academy for area fifth graders.

During the fall session, more than 40 students were divided into three groups to explore different areas of STEM: Robotics, Genetics and Physics. Wallace State faculty led the groups in lessons and activities demonstrating each concept.

Computer Science instructors Terry Ayers and Raymond Pierce taught the Robotics sessions. The students learned how to drive robots and were given timed tasks to complete while manipulating their robot inside an obstacle course.id="attachment_18286" align="alignright" width="300" A Wallace State STEM Academy participant works his way through the Genetics session, using pieces of candy to represent different alleles that will determine character traits.Chemistry and Biology instructor Beth Williams and Physics instructor Christine O’Leary led students in creating paper airplanes to demonstrate the way gravity pulls at objects and how wind can affect the aerodynamics of objects. The students competed to see whose plane would fly the longest distance and used fans to see how their planes reacted to the wind flow.

Biology instructors Connie Briehn, Melissa Landers and Jackie Donaldson used candy to demonstrate genetics. The students were able to choose pieces of candy that represented alleles or gene variants. Depending on which candy pieces they chose, the students used a graph that showed them the specific traits they inherited from the alleles they chose.

“Thank you so much for putting this together,” said parent Abbey Holcomb. “Our kids had a great time. We are looking forward to the spring session.”

“Thank you so much!” added parent Jessica Scott. “They had a blast.”

The same students will return in the spring for another session. Wallace State also offers STEM camps for second through eighth grade students in the summer. The upcoming summer sessions will add arts to become STEAM Camp.

“Wallace State is fortunate to have a team willing to offer this new Academy annually for city and county fifth graders,” said Beth Bownes-Johnson, Dean of Academic Affairs. “It is more important now than ever to expose our youth early to disciplines in STEM, so as future leaders they will have the knowledge and creative and collaborative skills to solve many of the complex challenges they will face.”

For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu or call 256.352.8000. Contact Rachel Kreps at 256.352.7853 for questions regarding upcoming STEM or STEAM events.

 id="attachment_18287" align="alignleft" width="640" Wallace State STEM Academy students throw airplanes during the Physics session to see how gravity pulls at objects.

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