Science, math can lead to hot dogs, digital frogs

Aug. 13, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

Ethan Shuford, James Coffey, Bryan Annas, Samantha Byrd and Ken Dixon made a solar-powered oven out of a Little Caesar’s pizza box and a sour-cream-and-onion Pringles can, then used it to heat s’mores and hot dogs.

But not everything that students showed off all they had learned in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Academy — which prepares adult students for taking the GED — at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute was so hands-on.

Tony Main and James Cochran dissected frogs without actually dissecting frogs.

“We watched some of the others cut them up, but we did it on an iPad,” Main said.

At Tuesday’s STEM Fair, which allowed students to show off posters of their work during the academy, Main and Cochran showed a poster of print outs from the iPad dissection: The photos showed the different organs and body parts of the frog as if the men had sliced into a frog themselves.

“We didn’t want to mess with the real frogs. We didn’t have the guts to mess with the real frogs,” Main said, laughing.

As part of the College and Career Readiness program at the college, students of all ages participated in the academy, learning robotics, dissection, alternative means of cooking and new languages as well as taking field trips.

Dixon was impressed by what he learned at the academy, especially the different ways to cook.

“I learned that if my oven ever breaks down I could use a pizza box or a Pringles can to cook something,” Dixon said.

The STEM Academy was funded by a Google grant of $12,000, according to Shari Brown, the family literacy coordinator and instructor. This year’s academy was a pilot program, and whether there is available funding will depend on if a second academy will be offered next summer.