On a bright and sunny Saturday in early May, the Morgridge Family Foundation hosted the 5th annual Share Fair at DU’s Morgridge College of Education that brought over 5,000 educators, community leaders and families to campus. This year’s Share Fair, entitled “STEMosphere”, started with an inspiring keynote address by Dr. Jane Goodall. Goodall talked about her studies of chimpanzees and the encouraging peers, educators and family members who helped her follow her passion and pursue her dreams. In applying her life story to the future of others, she has founded the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots and Shoots after-school program to provide an opportunity for learning that instills a passion for environmental conservation and empowerment for the youth across the world. Dr. Goodall’s closing remarks left the room with the hope for a better world – a place that empowers the youth of today to learn about their world, understand the problems and be inspired to find solutions, stating that: “A teacher is the one hope for [the children's] future. Give them hope. Encourage them to follow their dreams.”
After the words of encouragement from Dr. Goodall, over 1,000 K-12 educators streamed into Morgridge College of Education’s Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall to attend a variety of workshops on enhancing the teaching methods of STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) in the classroom.
While the educators were learning ways to improve student achievement by including iPads, SMARTboards, and teaching technology into lessons that foster collaboration and hands on learning, the rest of the Share Fair attendees wandered through the STEMosphere exhibits. The exhibition hall was bustling all afternoon with science experiments, robots, and hands on activities that promote STEM education. Kids, their parents and their grandparents visited station after station, playing, learning and exploring science and technology together. The exhibits consisted of a variety of activities: from gardens, to anatomy, to robots, to dinosaurs to renewable energy.
Later, the educators would join in with the rest of the families in the exhibition hall, seeing STEM in action. Kids, adults and educators alike were encouraged by the opportunities that “STEMosphere” brought to the Denver Metro Area. A Grandfather at the Anatomy of Clay exhibit watched in awe as his granddaughter pressed clay into molds, creating skeletal and muscular models of people and animals, stated: “My granddaughter has been at this exhibit for over half an hour. She’s entranced by anatomy; she loves it.” A Mother at the STEM School Academy exhibit of underwater robots expressed: “My son just learned about the Titanic in school, so the underwater robot exhibit drew us in for quite a while.”
This year’s Share Fair taught us to expand our expectations of learning to promote personal and global transformations; showing us how technology and our brains can be used for good – to learn about problems, discover a passion and take action because of that passion. Who knows what next year has in store…