Elementary STEM Club learn Mammalogy from SUU

Published: September 23, 2015 | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU conducts science experiments with Elementary School, STEMArmed with a cookie sheet, peanut butter and children in tow, Southern Utah University biology students led their mini scientists along Cedar City’s Coal Creek to learn what types of mammals live along the stream.

As part of a mammalogy course taught by Dr. Jacqualine Grant, the university students partnered with the East Elementary Science and Engineering Club, also known as Science Pups, for an experiential learning study about mammals.

The experiment had the schoolchildren, alongside SUU’s students, placing cookie sheets filled with moist sand baited and then with food. Animals that are attracted to the food then walk through the sand and leave its tracks behind, this trap will then be analyzed by both sets of students to learn what type of mammals are found alongside Coal Creek.

One Science Pup said of her experiment, “I like the science club because I learn lots of different things. And hopefully we get a fox or deer track in our trap.”

Mallory McBride, a Las Vegas native studying biology, said of the purpose of the Science Pups program, “This is a great way for us to get involved with the community and teach these kids who are really interested in science. It’s a lot of fun and much more effective than listening to a lecture.”

The East Elementary Science Pups collaborated with their mentors from SUU to design this field experiment located in Southwest Wildlife Foundation’s Cedar Canyon Nature Park. The two groups will continue to work together for the next month to study what tracks they collected and the Science Pups will then present their individual findings.

Kim Sauceda, director of the East Elementary Science Club, said of the need for the science-focused organization, “Having these children participate in this club allows them to do research from biology to robotics, something they can’t get in the classroom because of time constraints.”

Grant, who was recently recognized by the Utah Compass Compact Community as an engaged scholar, explained that by her students stepping away from their desks and teaching the schoolchildren lessons on how to conduct research, they’re learning more than they could from a textbook.

“It’s difficult to give up lecture time, but I know that none of my students will fall asleep if we are outside working with real track stations and small children,” said Grant. 

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