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Science Makes Afterschool Cool
Science Makes Afterschool Cool
Posted on 09/24/2021
Lights flicked on, both literally and figuratively, in the YMCA classroom at Clyde A. Erwin Middle School on Thursday. As part of the Y Horizons afterschool program, Ms. Trish Scarborough, an outreach educator with the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS), visited with a box full of electrical circuit components. Students spent the next hour exploring the science of circuits with a hands-on design challenge. The drew plans for LED light arrays (similar to Lite-Brites), built circuits, and attached them to pieces of cardboard. When lights didn’t work, they worked out the causes and solutions.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Lights flicked on, both literally and figuratively, in the YMCA classroom at Clyde A. Erwin Middle School on Thursday.

As part of the Y Horizons afterschool program, Ms. Trish Scarborough, an outreach educator with the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS), visited with a box full of electrical circuit components. Students spent the next hour exploring the science of circuits with a hands-on design challenge. They drew plans for LED light arrays (similar to Lite-Brites), built circuits, and attached them to pieces of cardboard. When lights didn’t turn on, they worked through possible solutions.

“My favorite part was trying to figure out how it works,” said Ayden, a seventh grader. “It was challenging, but challenges are fun.”

The project is the latest in a series of hands-on experiments, added Aysys, an eighth grader.

“We’ve made a rocket with vinegar and baking soda and done a lot of other crafty things,” she said. “It’s fun, and it’s entertaining.”

It’s also inquiry-based learning, Ms. Scarborough said.

“We provide materials, have a goal, and leave an open-ended path to get there,” she said. “You build and test, build and test. At the end of the day, our goal is to help students observe problems and think about how to solve them. These are life skills that can be applied to anything.”

BCS STEM and STEAM labs take a similar approach. Available at every BCS primary, elementary, and intermediate school, these labs integrate the Engineering Design Process with the North Carolina science curriculum. After a unit of study in science, students get the chance to apply their knowledge through STEM challenges. The challenges are designed for students to collaboratively Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve upon their solutions.

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