Igniting Stellar Imaginations through an Integrated STEAM Approach to Learning

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On July 20 and 21, ND Energy participated in the weeklong Art 2 Science Summer Camp sponsored by Notre Dame’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE) in the Jordan Hall of Science. The event drew nearly 160 area students ranging from second to eighth grades. Young scientists rotated around to 24 different stations during the week, learning about science, technology, engineering, and math through creative art activities (STEM + art = STEAM).

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ND Energy presented a 50-minute lesson on ways to separate very small substances, a general technique being used in several laboratories on campus to find more energy-efficient ways to filter water and other mixtures. The introductory PowerPoint was enriched by videos and animations provided by postdoc Ben Sikora and graduate student Vik Rathee, both from Dr. Jonathan Whitmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, research group. The hands-on portion of the event was an activity developed by Dr. William Phillip, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, involving coffee filters and water-soluble markers. Black markers contain a variety of dyes which fall out of solution at various points on a filter, creating colorful designs. The real-time expertise was provided by Whitmer, ND Energy Managing Director Ginger Sigmon, and graduate students Rathee and Andrew Schranck from the Dr. Kyle Doudrick research group.

ND Energy provides energy-related educational outreach for area K-12 students. For more information, contact Anne Pillai, apillai@nd.edu.

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.