SummerSTEM Day Two: Teachers Need Field Trips Too
By Elise Saenger-Heyl
Did you know that Duke Energy has a water resources team that monitors the health of Harris Lake? I did not, until today when I was given the opportunity to join the site visit to Duke Energy. Teams of teachers headed out to site visits of different companies in the Research Triangle area during their first of two immersion days. The purpose of these SummerSTEM immersion days is for teachers to have an opportunity to see what different companies in the STEM industry are doing in the field and find connections to curriculum in their classrooms. Other teams traveled to Holt Brothers Construction, Balfour Beatty Construction, Novozymes, Biogen, SAS, RDU Airport, and the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce. Experiencing it firsthand, I witnessed the many benefits of this unique opportunity.
On our visit, we were able to ride along with the water resources team at Duke Energy as they went on Harris Lake to sample the fish population. After catching fish using electric trawl fishing, the Duke team measures and weighs the fish, records the data, and releases the fish back to the lake or takes them as samples. We then returned to land and were shown the lab where samples are prepared and analyzed to determine the health and diversity of Harris Lake. We were also given the opportunity to tour the labs where material tests are done to determine why certain parts failed, and we were shown how to reverse engineer mechanical parts. Our visit also included a panel and discussion with Duke Energy employees from all aspects of the company and time in the interactive learning center. Our team was able to make some valuable curriculum connections and we have great ideas to take back to our classrooms!
Teachers love a field trip as much as their students. SummerSTEM field trips will change what happens in classrooms in 2018-19 because of experiences from today’s adventures.