Today we completed our week-long 2024 summer STEM course for 9-14 year olds at Plymouth Bluff! Last year our space-themed STEM course was sponsored by the NASA NIFTY program. This year, our course was supported by a generous donation by Gary and Collene Albright.

Organizers this year included myself, Dr. Bonnie Oppenheimer, Mr. Michael Dodson, and Dr. Davida Crossley and two MUW undergraduate volunteers Cain Petty and Zarin Raya.

Our course included activities on biology, mathematics, engineering, and geology!

Our botany activities included a nature walk around Plymouth Bluff and collecting plants for pressing. Each student took home a framed dried plant they collected.



We also included a variety of biology themed activities. To study the germs all around us, students swabbed surfaces around the Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center and grew the bacteria and fungi they collected on Petri dishes. In a large group activity, students acted as deer or environmental resources, allowing the class to track how the number of deer and resources affect each other and change year to year. Lastly, we asked students to conduct a variety of tasks with and without the use of their thumbs to learn more about how important our thumbs are in every day tasks.


Students also constructed paper straw rockets and protective enclosures for eggs to learn about flight and landing. We ID’ed different rock types and explored a variety of fossils collected at Plymouth Bluff and students learned about meteorites by throwing marbles and ping pong balls into sand and measuring the impact craters they made.


Thank you to all the students (and parents) who participated this year! Please keep an eye out for our sign up notification next spring to sign up for our summer 2025 STEM course!