by Helen Feeser ’15
Share Fair’s STEMosphere filled the Funkhouser Center Nov. 8 as hundreds of educators, students, parents and exhibitors gathered to partake in interactive learning demonstrations.
Share Fair is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) focused event educating teachers on how to use technology as a learning tool in their classrooms. A two-part event, Share Fair included classroom sessions for educators and a hands-on STEMosphere open to the public.
In the STEMosphere, exhibitors showed off technologies and innovative learning techniques by allowing attendees to work one-on-one with educational tools. Exhibitors showcased everything from robots and virtual crime scenes to bacterial infections and sheep brains.
"It's All in Your Head" a booth run by Psi Chi, Bridgewater’s psychology honors society, gave attendees a real laboratory experience by allowing them to suit up in gloves and aprons and analyze sheep brains. Psi Chi students used the sheep brains as a model to help explain the different parts and functions of the human brain. Third grader Benjamin Johnson said that even though touching the brains was “icky,” it was his favorite activity at the STEMosphere.
Giving attendees the opportunity to practice microbiology, exhibitors with “A Spoon Full of Dirt” demonstrated the therapeutic usefulness of bacterial viruses. “People in general, not just kids, don’t understand the differences between bad viruses and good viruses. The viruses we work with do not infect the human body at all; they only infect bacteria and can be used for therapeutic measures,” exhibitor Alexis Brouillette said.
Seeing technologies in action allowed some educators to envision just how that would come to life in their own classrooms. “I think I can incorporate that into my high school curriculum when I’m teaching Thoreau and Walden and the transcendentalists,” Emily Brown, English teacher at Strasburg High School, said after learning about Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Program.
Funded by the Morgridge Family Foundation, Share Fair has hosted more than 3,000 educators since its inception in 2009. “The benefit for any teacher to come to a Share Fair like this is to see how technology can be integrated into any classroom,” Brown said.