Math and Science Fun for the Family at Knock Knock
LSU, ExxonMobil Host a Free Night of Math and Science Fun at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum for EBR Elementary School Students, Teachers
On Tuesday, October 12, more than 300 elementary school students, their families and teachers enjoyed a night of science and math fun at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum in celebration of UTEACH’s decades-long commitment to advancing math and science education in Louisiana. The GeauxTeach Math and Science Program at LSU and ExxonMobil teamed with the museum to host Family Math and Science Night, which included a museum scavenger hunt, prizes and other fun and educational activities to expose students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts using the power of play.
ExxonMobil, a long-time partner and sponsor of the GeauxTeach Math and Science Program and founding member of the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, underwrote museum entrance fees for the event, which targeted elementary school students and teachers from GeauxTeach mentor classrooms throughout East Baton Rouge Parish.
“ExxonMobil is proud to support the GeauxTeach Math and Science Program at LSU. This unique program addresses the critical need for more math and science teachers while providing additional career opportunities for students,” said ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery Manager Mark Northcutt.
The elementary school students were given activity books to guide them through a series of standards-based math and science activities. The students collected prizes for completing three activities.
“I see Knock Knock Children’s Museum as a ‘STEM charging station’ where children can power up on their learning. The "STEM Scavenger Hunt" led by the LSU Geaux Teach students showed children and families that STEM is everywhere! They designed LEGO cars and tested them on inclined ramps in Go Go Garage, explored the effect of moving air on objects in a wind tunnel in By You Building, solved challenging puzzles in the Geaux Figure! Playhouse, and more. Building a strong foundation for the knowledge, skills, and attitudes about STEM must start early and the museum provides the perfect context based on how young children learn—through meaningful, purposeful play. Knock Knock applauds the LSU College of Science, the Cain Center for STEM Literacy, and ExxonMobil for recognizing and supporting these experiences at the beginning of the STEM pipeline,” said Cate Heroman, an early childhood consultant and member of the museum’s board of directors.
“It was an awesome event! It was particularly gratifying to see children and their parents having so much fun at play, while participating in meaningful STEM learning activities,” said Pat Bodin, LSU math graduate and former chief information officer for ExxonMobil.
With the support of ExxonMobil matching funds, Bodin gave $60,000 to support the training of LSU GeauxTeach students, including a museum mentorship program where the students serve as exhibit guides.
“My support for the LSU GeauxTeach and the Knock Knock Museum collaboration was motivated by the belief that we must stimulate excitement in STEM at a very early age. Only by doing this will we produce a sufficient number of qualified STEM college graduates to meet the growing demands of our economy,” added Bodin. “I am particularly thankful to ExxonMobil for their direct support for the museum, as well as for their three-to-one matching gift for my GeauxTeach donation
The GeauxTeach Math and Science program at LSU is a replica of the nationally recognized UTEACH program at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) aimed at recruiting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors to be teachers. Forty-six universities throughout 22 states and the District Columbia have successfully replicated the program. LSU’s GeauxTeach Math & Science Program was among the first cohort of 13 universities to duplicate the program, which allows students to pursue degrees in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics and earn a teacher certification at the same time.
“The LSU College of Science is grateful to ExxonMobil and the Knock Knock Children’s Museum for helping make this night possible, and the UTEACH Program, which has provided the added framework and support needed to grow the math and science education program at LSU,” said Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science.
“This event is an awesome example of the ‘power of play.’ As the students complete the activities and explore the museum exhibits, they are being exposed to concepts that could set them on an academic trajectory that focuses on science and math. So, this night is a celebration and an opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.”
In 2007, LSU was one of 12 institutions awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to expand the already successful math and science teacher preparation program at LSU. The program began with 16 students. Today, GeauxTeach has approximately 200 students in the secondary education program. As of May 2017, 136 students have graduated from the GeauxTeach Math & Science Program. Of the graduates, 74 percent are teachers while 26 percent pursued degrees from graduate and professional schools
GeauxTeach engages students in field experiences early in their academic careers creating a more field-intensive curriculum than traditional certification routes. A supportive community of mentor teachers shares the responsibility of preparing GeauxTeach students for the rigors of the classroom. The mentor teachers guide GeauxTeach students in their field experiences where they work together to design unique and relevant classroom experiences.
For more information about the GeauxTeach Math and Science Program, visit http://www.lsu.edu/geauxteach.