For the past few Fridays, the seventh and eighth graders at Cardozo Middle School in Riverbank participated in a field trip to the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose along with school staff, para professionals and parents. The lengthy to and from trip on two school buses for the students was well worth it with all the innovative science and technology they got to experience. Cardozo Resource Specialist Shelly Dressel volunteered to chaperone the students on all four of the Friday trips.
“This was our first time taking students on this trip, using funding made available through our SIG grant to increase hands on learning and STEM activities,” stated Dressel. “Students had the opportunity to learn about physiology in ‘The Human Experience’, where they viewed real bodies and organs on display, as well as using augmented 3D reality.”
She explained that students learned about cryptography both historically and how it is used current day for internet safety in another area of the museum. The students got to experience an earthquake simulator, and a flight in the 3D simulator called “Birdy.” They learned about medical innovations including how viruses spread. Watching a movie on the IMAX screen about Engineering Innovations or Ocean Discovery dependent on the day of the visit was a real treat for the middle schoolers.
With roughly three-and-a-half hours to tour the museum, students were in groups of six or seven students and a chaperone which included watching a 45-minute movie.
“The tour was self-directed, allowing students to decide which exhibits to spend time on,” added Dressel. “The majority of the students gave favorable reviews, especially of the human bodies exhibit and IMAX. They really enjoyed being able to create things in the building areas and being able to interact with the displays. Using the new 3D technology was obviously a big hit with everyone. To me, it was equally important for us to get out of the classroom and interact with our students in small groups. Teachers were able to have academic conversations with kids in a more relaxed environment and they were able to connect on a more personal level.”
The mission “to inspire the innovator in everyone” of the Tech Museum has been just that for the Cardozo students, allowing them to enjoy the programs, exhibits, challenges, and had fun opening minds and, for some, their worlds.