OXFORD — Inspiring future engineers.
From a LEGO Starburst to lava lamps and bridge building and slime making, several dozen Oxford Elementary School students spent a day viewing and learning about engineering and what engineers do.
Oxford Elementary School was one of 16 schools selected to receive a bus grant from the Maine Engineering Promotional Council (MEPC) to help defer transportation costs to get students to the Maine Engineering Expo at the University of Southern Maine at the Gorham campus on Saturday, March 4.
A total of 38 Oxford Elementary School students, including three older siblings, 22 parents and two staff, got a chance to see first-hand what engineers do, said Ruth Wilson, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher at Oxford Elementary School.
The Expo was part of the nationally recognized Engineers Week in Maine. It was celebrated with an annual “E-Week Banquet and Expo,” where some 1,700 engineers, educators, and students gathered for hands-on activities and workshops to learn about engineering and what engineers do, according to information from MEPC.
“We braved the frigid temperatures Saturday to attend the 2017 Engineering Expo thanks to the transportation grant we received,” Wilson said following the event which, she said, was also attended by at least three or four other Oxford Elementary School families she saw there. The families had come on their own.
“Neither the students or parents wanted to leave when time was up,” she said.
“I loved how everything was hands on and I loved how everyone there shared all of the stuff there,” said Ashley L., a sixth-grade student.
Even some third-grade students who attended were excited about the opportunity to play with a big crane and make slime. One was even scanned on a computer, she said.
Others were as enthusiastic in their reviews of the event including parent Jennifer Roy who emailed Wilson after the event.
“This was my first time attending this Expo. I had my 4th and 6th grade sons with me, their first time attending as well,” Roy wrote in the email to Wilson. “We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There was so much to see, learn and try for ourselves. I showed up that morning with two young boys who already dread the thought of college, and I left with those same young boys newly excited about the opportunities college could give them! They learned first hand from this Expo that the sky is the limit!”
Wilson said the group ran into Ron Brown, the electrical engineer who participated in OES’s Annual Aspire Higher Career Fair last fall, and he spent the day “inspiring” students with his knowledge of engineering.
Another surprise for the group was meeting Amber Dennison, an Oxford Elementary School alumni and current engineering student at the University of Maine.
OXFORD —A number of students who attended the Expo on March 4 submitted the following comments about their experience:
“I think the trip was so cool. I am wishing I can go again because there were lava lamps, robots and best of virtual reality and rocket scientists.” Keith H. Grade 6
“I loved how everything was hands on and I loved how everyone there shared all of the stuff there.” Ashley L. Grade 6
“One thing I liked at the Expo was the bowling bowl and gravity.” Wyatt C. Grade 6
” I enjoyed hearing about how they built their miraculous machines, specifically the Lego Starburst moving machine.” Christian R. Grade 6
“I talked to Amber Dennison and she talked a little about the school(USM) and how great it would be if I chose to go there. We talked about what she did for engineering.” Wynter S. Grade 6
“Everything was awesome but I loved making Slime.” Randi M. Grade 6
“It was really fun. I liked everything. My favorite was the magnet & oil thing.” Brendin J. Grade 6
“Fun! It was interesting. A student created his own version of a 3D printer!” Zander W. Grade 6
“It was really fun. I liked talking to the people(the students and engineers).” Page T. Grade 6
“My favorite was the 3D printer and the bridge building. I never knew that a bridge could be so confusing.” Nate T. Grade 6