TC Shares the STEM Experience


Sofia Zendejas

Rodolfo Magana, Marvin Gama, Kaylene Teter, and friends trying to build a stable tower out of construction paper.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and Taft High students got to experience many of these exciting opportunities at the Taft College Stemvitational on Nov. 17.

Taft High students who signed up for an introduction to the STEM program at Taft College got out of school the day before Thanksgiving break and walked around the campus to learn about the program. Students gathered for the Stemvitational in the auditorium where Taft College STEM directors explained the financial portion of the program. After the basic introduction, students were given free t-shirts and separated by the colors of their shirts. The students received either gold, grey, white, or black t-shirts. Once the students were split into groups and assigned their tour guides, they went to the Taft College campus for the rest of the tour.

The technology area had five college students who are currently in the STEM program. Students were able to experience controlling a robot called Sphero. The Sphero is a ball that can be controlled by tablets. Students were taught how to control and change the colors of their Sphero. They learned how to change the speed and do cool tricks and even had the robots sumo wrestle.

Sofia Zendejas
Students experimenting with robots controlled by tablets

The science room was taught by more TC students in the program. The room had a small greenhouse connected to the classroom were TC students are able to grow plants and experience how they bloom. The students presenting the science area were able to explain what type of plants were in the greenhouse and what kind of climate you could find them in. He also dissected a sheep heart and the body of a snake. Students were amazed at what they had learned in such a short amount of time from a student.

German Mejia pretending to eat a preserved snake.

The students were assigned a break and the cafeteria and college chefs provided them with snacks. Once they enjoyed their snack they headed towards other areas of the program.

The engineering classroom was presented by a teacher who explained what engineering was like. He separated students into groups and gave each group fifteen pieces of construction paper. With only fifteen pieces of paper, they were told to build a tower. Whoever had the tallest tower under a certain amount of time would win. There was only one group whose tower was left standing. It was about 36 inches tall. Then he made them destroy their tower and get into a big  group and make it again with more people and only five minutes. When the timer was up, he went to measure it. The tower ended up being 47 inches tall. Finally, he showed a picture of the tallest building, which is located in Dubai. He explained that the reason people were able to create these types of buildings was because it wasn’t only one man, but a group. He discussed how it is so important to have multiple people working together. The message was: it is great to make mistakes because then you know what doesn’t work and you can try different ways to make sure it does.

The last thing that the students did while they were at the college was explore the actual campus. They saw the library and different rooms such as the art room and student hall. They then went to the main building and explained how to sign up for classes and for the STEM program. The tour guide also showed where they could apply for financial help. The students who attended this tour really enjoyed learning about the STEM program and many students are now interested in joining.