Editor's note: The following information is from a press release from the Science Museum of Minnesota and Flint Hills Resources.
Fourth and fifth grade students from Apple Valley will learn how to think like engineers when they explore a new, interactive exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota this spring.
Students at , , , , and elementary schools will visit the museum during April and May to see Engineering Explorations, which is designed to enhance student interest in engineering and fulfill new academic standards.
The program, sponsored by refining and chemicals company Flint Hills Resources, is an example of business and education working together to meet requirements set by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Minnesota schools are required to incorporate specific engineering material into curricula to prepare students for jobs of the future. The standards are new this school year and reflect the state’s commitment to educate students about the modern scientific world. Engineering field days help schools fulfill the standards in a way that is fun and engaging for students.
“[The exhibit] promises to equip a new generation with the tools to compete and innovate in a world where scientific literacy is critical to a successful workforce," said Dr. Eric J. Jolly, president of the Science Museum of Minnesota.
During their trips to the museum, students will learn how to combine math, science, creativity and curiosity to effectively think like engineers. While the typical museum visitor focuses on the exhibit and its significance, students will be challenged to consider how the exhibits were made, what materials were used to build them, and what problems were likely solved along the way.
For example, students will observe dinosaur skeletons, learn what holds the bones together and determine what keeps them from falling down. Students will also view live theater programs that explain why all people are engineers to some extent.
"Engineering field days are designed to help spark kids’ imaginations in science and engineering,” said Jake Reint, director of public affairs at Flint Hills Resources. “As a high-tech manufacturer that employs hundreds of engineers and skilled workers, we know how important it is to encourage young people to take an interest in science.”