4th Grade Days 2020
In the honor of National Engineers Week 2020, Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers organized over 35 volunteers to visit 31 classrooms across the Central Coast as part of their annual 4th Grade Days Event. Before the week-long event began, teachers were sent a promo video to present their class, which starred four aliens that had crash-landed on a strange planet trying to get home and only had simple supplies to build a new spaceship (link to video).
During the event, students became a part of the story as the aliens needed the fourth graders’ help to build a new spaceship. When visiting classrooms, volunteers first gave a brief introduction into the fundamentals of rocket ships and basic concepts of flight. Volunteers led the students in a rocket design challenge where they were divided into teams of four and tasked to build a rocket ship. This activity was concluded with a competition where teams tested their rockets by a distance test to see which would fly the farthest. Students were given a simple guide on the overall shape of the rocket but were given liberties on how the size of their rocket would be to expand on their imaginations and work as a team to design the farthest flying rocket.
In an effort to outreach to underserved communities, dozens of volunteers drove over half an hour to reach their classrooms, providing the opportunity to meet role models and participate in an engineering activity to those students who might not normally have exposure to engineering. The event’s goal was to not only introduce students to the possibilities of engineering but also encourage members of the Cal Poly community to give back through volunteering and planning the event. With only a month to prepare, a subcommittee of thirteen people expanded their leadership and project management skills to serve their community.