Blog - Learning in Action

CWI Students Inspire Learning at STEM Event

November 9, 2015
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On Saturday, Nov. 7, nine College of Western Idaho (CWI) students and their instructor, representing the Allied Health, Education, and Biology Departments, hosted two different workshops at CWI’s annual STEM Out! Into PTE event. This event was designed to ignite the curiosities of Treasure Valley girls ages 10-15 as they consider future careers in STEM fields.

The first workshop, entitled “Thinking Like a Mountain: Sustainable Solutions," was designed with conservationist Aldo Leopold’s famous words in mind. Just as Leopold (1949) details in his A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There this workshop invited participants to explore different stations related to natural resources and their intrinsic values. These stations included the topics of water health, the Fibonacci Sequence in nature, Trophic Levels, The Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 1968), and the value of trees.

The second workshop, entitled “Edible Epithelial Tissue,” was designed as an avenue to for participants to explore one of the four human body tissues via the construction of edible physical models. Materials utilized in this workshop included Hershey bar “squamous cells,” marshmallows “cuboidal cells,” Mike & Ike “columnar cells,” sprinkles “cilia,” frosting connective tissue,” and graham cracker “basement membrane.” Yum!

As detailed below, these workshops were led by students in ALLH 101 Medical Terminology, BIOL 210 Science Literature and Environment, and EDUC 101 Step 1: Inquiry Approach to Teaching, which is the first course in the IDoTeach program here at CWI.

  • Colin Vickers, Biology – Natural Resources major, presented on the Fibonacci sequence and Phi in Nature utilizing pineapples, body measurements, and mathematics.
  • Dave Draper and Brendon Harker, both Biology – Natural Resources majors, presented on Trophic Levels utilizing an interactive Jenga game and food web.
  • Bambi Halcom, Biology – Natural Resources major, presented on the value of trees utilizing tree byproducts and connections to our forests as related to goods and services.
  • Kyra Dorman, an IDoTeach student majoring in Liberal Arts, presented on clean water utilizing food coloring "toxins" and the mathematical calculations involved in ppm and ppb.
  • Jacquelyn Youngers, Biology – Healthcare Emphasis major, volunteered as a team leader, guiding a group of girls around to each workshop for the duration of the event.
  • Maribel Otto, Biology – Healthcare Emphasis major, volunteered as a teaching assistant in the “Edible Epithelial Tissue” workshop.
  • Emily Harding, Biology – Healthcare Emphasis major, volunteered as a teaching assistant in the “Edible Epithelial Tissue” workshop.
  • Melissa Hartman, an IDoTeach student majoring in Liberal Arts, performed a hands-on demonstration during event registration.
  • Derek Martinez, Liberal Arts and Physical Education major, volunteered as a team leader, guiding a group of girls around to each workshop for the duration of the event.
  • Molly Wolk, Adjunct Faculty in Allied Health, Biology, and IDoTeach, presented on The Tragedy of the Commons as well as Edible Epithelial Tissue.