Homewood City Schools and McWane Science Center recently partnered on a new program to combine lunch and science during the school Covid-19 closure. Homewood City Schools provided free meals to children under 18 during the school closures this spring, and each meal packet included a Science Challenge card provided by the education department at McWane Science Center.
“We thought it would be a fun way for us to continue to serve our community and engage students in STEM education from afar,” said Julie Danley, director of early childhood education at McWane Science Center.
All of the activities on the cards were engineering challenges using only the materials from the meal kits.
The cardboard, paper and plastic that would usually end up in a recycling bin could be used to practice the steps of the engineering process and help solve problems, such as building a bridge or creating something that can fly in the wind.
Spring is a time when McWane education staff engage with students all over Central Alabama, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the center had to shut down and cancel all field trips.
By providing the challenge cards, McWane officials noted that they hoped to help teachers reinforce STEM skills and concepts while continuing the center’s mission to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science experiences.”
According to a release, STEM activities encourage problem solving in creative, experimental and innovative ways.
The cards are geared towards students in grades kindergarten through eighth, with vocabulary and supplemental resources that require some reading. With the help of an adult, McWane officials said, even the youngest members of the family can have fun with the challenges.