This fall, Houston Public Schools teacher and Winona State University alumna Greta Goetting gave her elementary students the opportunity to feel “a little bit ‘grown-up’” by participating in some serious science experiments on a college campus.

Goetting’s students participated in a science day at WSU, in which WSU faculty and staff hosted physics, geoscience, chemistry and composite materials engineering stations to allow the young students to experience hands-on activities in STEM programs.

WSU students assisted by manning the stations, helping the elementary students learn more about static electricity, how water flows and its path direction, and even playing with a robot programmed by the WSU students.

“I feel this visit was both effective and important for the students,” Goetting said. “It helped them to make real-life connections to what we will be studying.”

According to Charla Miertschin, the dean of WSU’s College of Science and Engineering, engaging young students in STEM education is important for future success.

“Elementary students are learning about many new subjects, and they are generally excited to learn new things.  What may not happen in the classroom is understanding how these subjects can apply to their future,” Miertschin said. “Whether they are interested in using computers and programming robots or designing and building new products, studying science and technology can open up many opportunities.”

For Goetting, it was also a chance to show her students where she once went to school and partner with a local higher education institution to offer additional learning opportunities to area K-12 students.

“I felt very welcome back at my alma mater,” Goetting said. “I was so impressed with the willingness of the staff to set up such an awesome visit for us. It exceeded our expectations.”

WSU’s College of Science and Engineering is committed to the education of advances in STEM professions and research by inspiring the next generation of innovators and teachers and promoting research and scholarship through STEM. Through the program, the college aims to instill basic skills, interdisciplinary actions and research-rich environments.

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.

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Samantha Stetzer

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