New “Engineering & Erosion” program comes to RI schools

Students get lesson about coastal erosion through hands-on demonstrations and activities

Students get lesson about coastal erosion through hands-on demonstrations and activities

All students are scientists in the making…this is one of the main messages that was shared during the kickoff of the New England Aquarium’s “Engineering and Erosion” program at the Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence, RI on March 15.

The program, funded by National Grid, teaches students about coastal erosion through hands-on demonstrations and activities. “National Grid is very happy to bring this program to Rhode Island schools,” said Tim Horan, president, National Grid in Rhode Island. “The coastline of our Ocean State is particularly vulnerable to the destructive power of the sea. We believe everyone can learn from the Aquarium’s insights, starting at an early age.”

During the kickoff event, Tim spoke to the students about education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and how important it is to National Grid. As a company, National Grid supports a number of community initiatives to help students develop a stronger interest in STEM education.

The program begins with an introduction that drives home the point that kids are already scientists. “Any time you solve a problem, you are an engineer,” said Mike Trumbower, senior program educator and facilitator of the program. Mike encouraged students to think like a coastal engineer. Students worked in groups of four and had to figure out how to stop beach erosion using an interactive toolkit designed specifically for the activity.

RI-Middle-School-Students-1Approximately 40 students in sixth and seventh grade participated in the sessions. They clearly enjoyed it, as evident by their involvement in solving the erosion challenges and participating in a discussion. Students also heard from Dr. Mark Smith, vice president of animal care for the New England Aquarium.

This is the second interactive program that National Grid has developed with the New England Aquarium. The other program is their “Sharks” exhibit, which was recently brought to a Providence elementary school and is among their most popular outreach offerings*. “We are excited to expand our support of the New England Aquarium,” said Lynne Papetti, National Grid’s Manager of Corporate Citizenship for New England. “We are very pleased to launch this event in Rhode Island with a City Year-sponsored school.”

National Grid is City Year’s Northeast Regional Partner supporting a local affiliate in Providence, Boston and NY.  We have been the proud Team Sponsor of the Gilbert Stuart Middle School since 2012.  Jennie Johnson, Executive Director, City Year Providence, thanked National Grid for our support during the event as well.

* Click here to read about the “Sharks” program.

About the Engineering & Erosion Program
The New England Aquarium’s “Engineering & Erosion” Program is both creative and innovative as it brings STEM education right into the classroom. The program demonstrates in-person and up-close the power of the ocean and what we can, and cannot do to live in harmony with it. Ocean study is interdisciplinary by nature offering rich opportunities to explore STEM concepts like technology and engineering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *