When an earthquake occurs, each tremor produces different types of vibrations or seismic waves that travel through the Earth. Aspiring young scientists at Wea Ridge Middle School are learning about how to sense vibrations and how to measure them during an after-school STEM Club.
STEM Club gives sixth- through eighth-grade students a chance to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematical concepts after school.
Club sponsor and teacher Beth Rivas says students need to understand and apply the concepts of energy and energy transfer to build a successful seismic sensor. She gives them materials like balsa wood, string, fishing weights and paper clips so they can design and create their own sensors to detect and measure vibrations.
"We used the wire because it can conduct sound waves, but the clay absorbs the sound waves and that is why we put it at the end," says sixth-grade student Mason Jackson.
Parent Patricia Luban says the club gives her daughter, Olivia, and other students an excellent opportunity to see a project through to fruition.
"Many children may think they don't like science, but they will tell you they love STEM club," says Luban. "Seeing textbook concepts come to life is exciting and incentivizes the next generation of scientists to learn more."During the next nine weeks, the students will learn about solar energy. Their mission — to design a sun-tracking system for a solar panel