Part of the struggle to interest more young people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)–and equally a challenge for their K-12 teachers–is how to make these subjects more engaging.
From Feb. 13 to 16, 23 California State University, Dominguez Hills students with aspirations of becoming math and science educators were given the chance to see one way to do that–through the game of golf.
Students in the university’s STEM educator scholarship programs–Math and Science Teacher Initiative, Noyce Scholars, Transition to Teaching (TTT)– spent their weekend at the Northern Trust Pro-Am Golf Tournament at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, where they taught the science of golf to hundreds of young children visiting the tournament’s Chevron STEM ZONE interactive exhibit. In preparation, they each received lesson plans and materials from Chevron related to each activity they would be leading–from dropping balls of different weights and sizes to see if they fall the same and why to looking at how the spin of a ball affects how far it can fly.
“I had so much fun and learned some activities that I can use in my future classroom. I’m sure everyone did,” said Yajaira Bautista, a senior majoring in biology at CSU Dominguez Hills who is part of the Noyce Scholars Program.
CSU Dominguez Hills’ participation was made possible through a partnership between Chevron and the CSU Office of the Chancellor Teacher Education and Public School Programs Office to offer CSU education students a unique teaching experience. Chevron has its STEM ZONE exhibits at a number of golfing and sporting events throughout the state, and at nearly each stop CSU students are invited to serve as “teachers.”
In addition to the university students, CSU Dominguez Hills was also able to bring 200 inner city children from Gage Middle School in Huntington Park to experience the golf tournament and the STEM ZONE activities. Gage is a Transition to Teaching Lab School for the university, where TTT scholars are placed to hone their teaching skills.