This is the next in a series of articles to showcase the great events sections are hosting leveraging their PDG grants. Applications for FY23 grants are now open! For more information on the grant process please check out the PDG website.
The Wichita Section of the Society of Women Engineers hosted a successful virtual engineering expo for K-8th grade children. The goal of the engineering expo was to provide free hands-on STEM activities for children in the Wichita community, with a focus on the underprivileged. 45 SWE volunteers organized the event, which included packing kits, advertising, registering and editing videos. The event, held virtually over the weekend of April 17th 2021, ran 8am-5pm Sat & Sun, with videos presented for various age ranges on their YouTube channel. Prior to the event, section members put together 1,500 packs containing the materials for 18 different hands-on STEM activities which were then picked up by the attendees’ parents. Parents picking up the kits showed a lot of appreciation for this event for providing STEM activities while kids were participating in virtual learning. Over 85 facebook posts with the attendees showcasing their experiments were posted with the #sweexpo2021 hashtag.
The attendees were able to understand the science behind:
- Weights and balances through the activity Balancing Butterflies
- Gravitational forces through the activity Paper Rollercoaster
- Lift/Drag forces through the activities Air Density and Airplanes and Hoop Glider
- Forces of buoyancy through the activity Flinkers
- Coding through the activity coding with Legos
- Chemical Reactions through the activity Self Inflating Balloon
- Homopolar motors through the activity Tiny Dancers
- Surface Tension through the activity Tensile Bubbles
- Kinetic Energy through the activity Stick Bombs
The section reported that the main key to success was a dedicated volunteer core who spent many hours making and editing videos for the activities. Any section wanting to do something similar should be prepared to put in a lot of hours filming and editing videos if not hosting activities live. Another lesson learned was to provide a first come, first served kit distribution, as the section experienced many signups who did not pick up their kits. But through solid planning, they were able to utilize their backup list to distribute the full 1,500 kits.