More than 5,000 second- and fourth-grade students from 29 Dakota County schools are learning to think like scientists and engineers this year through assemblies and field trips provided by the Science Museum of Minnesota. It’s part of the Experience Science program, an 18-year partnership between the Science Museum of Minnesota and Flint Hills Resources.
During the assemblies, instructors from the Science Museum use interactive models to show examples of real-world engineering problems and help students think through the process of solving them. During their trips to the museum, students learn how to combine math, science, creativity and curiosity to effectively think like engineers. Students are challenged to consider how museum exhibits were made, what materials were used to build them, and what problems were likely solved along the way.
The Experience Science program is designed to enhance student interest and fulfill academic standards in science and engineering. Minnesota schools are required to incorporate specific engineering material into curricula to prepare students for jobs of the future. Experience Science helps schools fulfill the standards in a hands-on way that is fun and engaging for students. Flint Hills Resources employs hundreds of Minnesota engineers and has a vested interest in the future of engineering in the Twin Cities.
“We see the Experience Science program as an investment in our future,” said Geoff Glasrud, vice president and manufacturing manager at the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery. “As a high-tech manufacturer that employs hundreds of engineers and skilled workers, we want to do everything we can to provide our young neighbors with opportunities to take an interest in STEM topics.”
The 2015-16 Experience Science program started in December and runs through April. Local participating schools include Red Pine, Northview, Pinewood, Oak Ridge, Deerwood, Glacier Hills, Thomas Lake and Woodland (Eagan); Rosemount, Shannon Park, St. Joseph Catholic School and Parkview (Rosemount); Echo Park (Burnsville); Highland, Cedar Park, Westview, Southview, Greenleaf and Diamond Path (Apple Valley).