STEM Center Shares COVID Science with Local Students

Published: January 22, 2021 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Category: Academics

STEM Center Shares COVID ScienceSouthern Utah University’s STEM Center for Teaching and Learning has partnered with Iron County School District to create lesson kits to help students answer questions related to COVID-19 using the scientific method. The kits, available through the SUU STEM Library, include four complete lessons and all equipment and supplies necessary to teach the lessons and perform the experiments.

“Our hope was to help students understand why they’re having to wear masks, wash their hands, and social distance,” said Charlene Busch, STEM Projects Coordinator. ”Children are asking questions, and instead of just telling them the answers, it’s more meaningful to students if they can do the science for themselves.”

At the beginning of the school year, the STEM Center was able to train over 20 teachers so every school in the Iron County School District would have a teacher that was familiar with the experiments and lesson plans within the kit.

Two of the four experiments help students understand the importance of handwashing through the use of Glo-Germ gel. The first allows students to compare bacteria growth in petri dishes that were breathed on with and without masks. In the second mask experiment, students get to be myth-busters.

“One common question about wearing a mask is whether it lowers your oxygen level,” said Busch. “So in this experiment, students can use a finger oximeter to measure their oxygen levels. When they get to do the science and see the data, they get to make their own conclusions.”

Since the successful distribution of these kits, the Utah STEM Action Center has given SUU’s STEM Center a grant to restock the kits, so the SUU STEM Center will always have kits stocked and ready to go.

In addition to providing these kits to the five-county radius served by the STEM Center, Busch has also met with the project coordinator of the Paiute tribe to provide supplies and kits for families in the tribe.

The SUU STEM Library provides more than just educational COVID-19 lesson kits. The STEM Library houses over 1,000 fun and interactive educational tools and consumable materials to help educators incorporate STEM in the classroom. These items are available to be checked out for free by anyone. Supplies are delivered to all Iron County School District schools on a bi-weekly basis and can be delivered by appointment to Washington, Garfield, Kane and Beaver counties. Those interested are encouraged to register and browse their free inventory or contact stemlibrary@suu.edu with any questions.


Tags: STEM Center

Contact Information:

David Bishop
435-586-5400
davidbishop@suu.edu