As a part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s (AIChE) Outreach program, AIChE has teamed up with Iridescent to help get kids excited about engineering. Iridescent is a non-profit organization that introduces science and engineering to kids of all ages through hands-on learning. One of the coordinators from Iridescent teaches a course at USC called Engineers as Teachers. Through Iridescent’s Family Science Program, USC students taking the course get to teach a class at an elementary school once a week for 5 weeks. They are responsible for coming up with the topics, lesson plans, and interactive activities. This weekend I had a blast volunteering in one of the classes. The class I helped in was taught by two BME students who are currently taking Engineers as Teachers. They are teaching a course called the Biomechanics of Dinosaurs which is held on the weekends at the Natural History Museum across the street from USC. They hope that blending engineering concepts with dinosaurs will make engineering interesting to the kids since dinosaurs are usually something kids find really exciting. Each week there is a short lecture and then a hands-on activity that the kids get to do with their families. This past weekend they learned about the dinosaur heart. It was really cute listening to a kid version of a biomechanics lecture 🙂 I couldn’t help but laugh when they started learning about turbulent flow (that’s what I’m learning in my classes!!) The interactive activity was building a “heart” using a plastic bottle and tubes. I got to help the kids test the hearts by adding colored water and helping them squeeze the bottle to pump the water through the heart. I had such a great time volunteering that I am planning to go again this weekend to help with their final day of class.
Anastasia, Chemical Engineering (Biochemical), Class of 2012