Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event at Kitsap Mall, April 26.
The event, sponsored by West Sound STEM, was designed to increase children’s interest in STEM fields through active participation in more than 60 interactive exhibits facilitated by local educators and professionals.
“We taught kids about the flow of electricity by building bristlebots,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class Melvin Woods, from Durham, North Carolina.
The children created bristlebots by attaching a pager motor and battery to the bristles of a detached toothbrush head with a rubber band. When the electric circuit was closed, the vibration of the motor caused the toothbrush bristles to move, pushing the bristlebot to move across table.
Beyond providing a lesson in basic electricity, the activity inspired children to solve problems with limited resources.
“We’re teaching kids to experiment,” said Woods. “One of the children built a bristlebot but after noticing it was only moving in a circle and not performing correctly, he adjusted his design and moved the motor to the back of the robot. When he turned it back on, the bristlebot darted straight across the table.”
This event is part of a larger movement across the country to lay the foundation for children to take an interest in a STEM career field.
“Washington state is ranked No. 4 in tech jobs in the country, but we [Washington] are No. 46 in educating kids in those fields,” said Karen Lippy, coordinator at West Sound STEM, from Belfair, Washington. “We need our local kids prepared to fill the jobs that are here, and the best way to do that is by getting them excited about these concepts early in life.”
Press Release, April 29, 2014; Image: US Navy