I was just looking back through some previous discussions*, and a few STEM activities we did in elementary school came to mind.
They didn't necessarily directly influence my decision to be a civil engineer, but they did spark my interest in the fields of science and engineering.Are there any memories you have from childhood that sparked your interest in STEM?
When I was in 4th grade my teacher received a grant from the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma. We did a lot of activities related to engineering and geology with the grant funding.
One that I particularly loved was when we learned about taking core samples.
We made layers of "rock" and "soil" with things like gummy worms, marshmallow, crushed oreos, bread, etc.
Then, we took clear straws and pushed them down through the layers.
Plugging the top of the straw with a finger, we gently removed the "core samples" and examined the varying layer properties.
That was my very first introduction to geotechnical engineering.
Another activity that we really enjoyed was building oil derricks out of straws with marshmallow or gum drop connections. They had to straddle a gap and hold weights added from a string hanging in the middle of our structure.
Maybe the coolest part of that was that all of the sponsors for that activity were dads. I'm not sure we'd ever had a dad volunteer in any of my classes up to that point.
We had a few dads in the energy and engineering industry, and it was great to see dads investing in our collective education.
(Moms helped out with other STEM activities, so it wasn't the teacher thinking only men could help with those kinds of activities)
That was one of my first introductions to structural engineering in a formal setting.
I'd love to know if there are any experiences that you recall sparking your interest in STEM
*Related discussions that sparked this post:
LEGO inspiration by @Danielle Schroederhttps://collaborate.asce.org/careerbydesign/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=10417&MessageKey=e827dd0a-745b-454c-bac1-b902adddc54d&CommunityKey=78ae5b12-b515-4f9b-803f-739cb4239b86&tab=digestviewer&ReturnUrl=%2fbrowse%2fallrecentposts
favorite hands-on STEM outreach activity (also by Danielle)https://collaborate.asce.org/careerbydesign/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=10417&MessageKey=e4a487a2-2a23-45ef-b629-cee3133a46f2&CommunityKey=78ae5b12-b515-4f9b-803f-739cb4239b86&tab=digestviewer&ReturnUrl=%2fbrowse%2fallrecentposts
STEM Outreach by @John Weilandhttps://collaborate.asce.org/professionaltopics/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=9265&MessageKey=c12524d6-4331-4c1d-9302-99bbaedf513a&CommunityKey=c95c7fc3-ed66-4208-8841-14604b5a3c32&tab=digestviewer&ReturnUrl=%2fbrowse%2fallrecentposts
Heidi Wallace EI,P.E.,M.ASCE