June 16, 2016
Aiken, S.C. - Savannah River Remediation (SRR) engineers promoted learning and a love of science to local fourth graders by incorporating fun, interactive lessons on Newton’s laws for Science Day.
SRR Engineers Austin Chandler and Jeff Iaukea visited North Augusta’s Hammond Hill Elementary School to teach Newton’s laws of motion to several fourth grade classes. By engaging the students with hands-on games and educational videos, Chandler and Iaukea were able to not only maintain the students’ attention, but also spark interest in gravity, force, and acceleration.
“The kids were excited to be engaged and active in the learning process,” said Chandler. “They seemed especially interested in throwing the medicine ball, which showed Newton’s third law in action.”
Chandler and Iaukea were also able to show the effects of gravity by using a Hot Wheels car on a racetrack, and acceleration by rolling a skateboard with a ball on top. When learning about gravity, the engineers said that the majority of the students hypothesized that a steel ball would fall faster than a ping pong ball and were surprised that both balls fell at the same speed.
“We also watched a video about astronauts in space in order to show the difference between our world and one without gravity,” said Iaukea. “The kids all wanted to know if we were astronauts after that.”
The SRR engineers said they felt a personal calling towards educational outreach through SRR’s READY program, which is an introductory, two-year development program for engineers who are newly hired college graduates. READY participants are empowered to become a more productive force for SRR by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs among students in the Central Savannah River Areas. SRR is a STEM company seeking to pique the interests of local students who represent the potential future workforce at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
One Hammond Hill Elementary teacher, Robin Patterson, said that the students were enthralled by Chandler and Iaukea’s presentation.
“By making the lab an exciting, hands-on experience, they were able to show the students that science is more than a page in a textbook,” Patterson said. “They made science come alive!”
For SRR engineers, the reward of educational outreach is the impact that it has on the children. For Iaukea, the look on the children’s faces when they are surprised by the results of an experiment, and then the ability to help them understand why that was the outcome, is one of the main reasons he participates in programs such as this.
“Sparking educational interest in a child can positively impact the rest of their lives,” said Chandler.
SRR is the liquid waste contactor at SRS for the U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, EnergySolutions and URS Professional Solutions.