Fourth Grade Days 2022!
Fourth Grade Days took place during National Engineers Week from February 22nd to February 25th. From 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM every day, volunteers visited elementary schools throughout San Luis Obispo county to complete an aerospace engineering activity with over one thousand students total. This year’s activity involved creating a paper rocket that was powered by a straw. Students went through the engineering design process starting with a brainstorm period about what they thought the best way to build their rocket would be. Then, students constructed their rockets before going outside to test them. Here, students could see what they could improve upon in their design and what went well. If there was any extra time, students were able to rebuild their rockets and reflect on what they learned and what their favorite part was. They were encouraged to continue the iterative rebuild phase of the design process at home with their friends and families.
Some volunteers ask why we target fourth grade for such an event. Our main goal through Fourth Grade Days is to address the bias that starts to appear around students at a fourth-grade age surrounding STEM. Our goal is to convince students at this young age that they deserve a place in engineering if they would like one, despite the representation they may see in media or the spaces around them. By completing an activity with them and having conversations with these students, the likelihood of a student seeing someone they can relate to in a field of STEM greatly increases and could remind them that they too have a place in such a community. It is an amazing experience getting to work with so many smart individuals who are so excited about learning. We can’t wait for next year!