Future engineers, scientists and park rangers filled the conference rooms at the New England District’s Concord Park Office, April 24, 2015 during the Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Sponsored by the Federal Women’s Program and the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, the District’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) event is one of the most popular activities of the year. Over 43 children ages 8-12, the largest attendance so far, participated. This year, the District was able to partner with CRREL and ERDC and members of their staff to assist in this year’s program.
After a morning snack and a "Bingo" ice breaker activity, the children were broken into manageable groups and rotated through three morning activities. Richard Fortuna and Rick Kristoff led the bird and bird feeder activity in the New England Conference Room. They were assisted by Tina Chaisson and Christine Renzoni. The children learned facts about birds native to Massachusetts and the importance of building and maintaining bird feeders. Using wooden pre-made bases, the children added bird seed in decorative ways to make the structures appetizing for the birds. The children also learned about Massachusetts’ state bird, the Black Capped Chickadee.
Steve Gaughan, CRREL, and Lindsay Lefebvre ran the mapping, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems activity in the cafeteria. Grace Bowles assisted the activity leads in teaching the children to understand the fundamentals and importance of geography. In addition to the geography, the children got lessons in map making history, modern map making, GIS and global positioning systems. During the activity, the children learned that science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and art are key elements in map making and GIS.
Park Ranger Samantha Gray and Dan Bradley led the Hydro Survey-In-A-Box activity in the Massachusetts and Connecticut Conference Rooms. Valerie Cappola and Ann Marie Harvie assisted. Gray used a PowerPoint presentation to explain how the Corps of Engineers works to ensure that the nation’s waters are safe for navigation. She and Bradley showed the children the technology, both past and modern instruments, used to explore the depths of a waterway and an ocean floor. The children then measured and mapped out parts of the Cape Cod Canal ocean floor using copy paper boxes and measuring sticks.
After a pizza lunch with their parents and sponsors, the children returned to their groups for another set of three fun and entertaining activities.
Capt. Daniel Brady instructed the children in Land Navigation. He was assisted by ERDC’s Cate Fox, Cappola and Harvie. After explaining the importance of learning directions and showing the children how to use a compass, Capt. Brady took the children from the cafeteria where the briefing occurred out to the Concord Park courtyard. He provided them with sets of directions for a pace count that led the children to letters that spelled a word related to the Corps of Engineers. A small treat was provided to the children after their hard work finding the words.
Dara Gay and Drew Cattano hosted the Build a Dam activity in the New England Conference Room. Chaisson was on hand to assist. Gay and Cattano explained that a dam is a structure that stops a river from flowing. Afterwards the children built a dam using sticks and small rocks. Once completed, the newly built dams were tested to see if they held up against water.
Mike Riccio, assisted by Bowles and Renzoni, held the Rocket Launching Activity briefing in the Massachusetts and Connecticut Conference Rooms. After Riccio explained aerodynamics as well as volume and propulsion, the children created their own rockets using 2-liter bottles, fins and various decorations. Riccio explained the basic science behind water-propelled rockets and the children then determined how much water – or rocket fuel – they would need to put in their rockets to launch correctly. The children and their instructors traveled to the New England District Space Station – located just outside Office of Counsel – to test the rockets and their hang times.
After rotating through the final three activities, the children were dismissed to the custody of their parents and sponsors. Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day supports the Corps of Engineers Campaign Plan to “Prepare for Tomorrow.”