Students rescued a woman from aliens, toured the solar system and met an operational robot all in the same day.
Springfield Elementary’s STEM Day took the Greenwood students to outer space to teach them about science, technology, engineering and mathematics in immersive and visually captivating ways.
Retired NASA Procurement Officer Dave Foxton gave fourth-grade students a brief trip to the solar system by showing them a PowerPoint presentation that explored the sun, the moon and just about every known planet.
A presentation in Pasadena, California by California Institute of Technology PHD students influenced Foxton to teach space exploration to fourth- and fifth-graders. The PHD students’ research showed that kids in fourth and fifth grade still have the capacity to learn about and be more interested in astronomy than adolescents.
“Wait until adolescence. Then they’ll be more interested in cars and their social life,” Foxton said.
The fourth-graders got to meet Foxton, but the lower grades got to meet a real robot named Martin that is owned by the founder of Story Ship, Sean Driscoll. Story Ship is an interactive and immersive performance for kids that is also educational.
Driscoll has been entertaining kids since he was 14. He began playing classical guitar in front of them, but that soon transitioned to interactive storytelling.
“This is my job. I do it day in and day out,” Driscoll said. “It’s the love of my life.”
The students’ mission was to rescue Driscoll’s space partner, Sarah, who had been abducted by aliens. They got to play with unique instruments such as the theremin, and they got to interact with a real robot that might not be so uncommon in the future.
“It’s [technology’s] the wave of the future, it’s going to be their lives,” Driscoll said. “Science changes the future.”