Field Trip Report from RESET Program Specialist Shaheen Khurana
With the school year drawing to a close, students from J.G Whittier school, along with their RESET volunteer Mike Goldstein, set out on a field trip to see “DREAM BIG: Engineering the World,” a giant-screen film about engineering showing at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The film was made by ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) to inform the public about the important work that engineers do and to inspire our youth to consider careers in engineering
This was an exciting event, and you could sense the student’s anticipation as they enthusiastically put on their 3D glasses and prepared to be transported to the world of engineering. As we all sat transfixed by the giant screen, watching the world’s most amazing engineering feats, we were taken on a journey of discovery from the tallest building to a bridge higher than the clouds. As we watched, some of the students reached out to grab the objects that were zooming past us as we looked down at the earth from a space capsule and were given aerial views of the cities and bridges. Along the way, the students witnessed how today’s engineers are shaping the world of tomorrow.
J.G. Whittier students and teachers and RESET volunteer Mike Goldstein (right) at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
After the showing, I asked the students what engineers do and what they found most interesting about the film. Here are some of their insightful responses:
“Engineers build stuff and try to make things better.”
“When the buildings fell, they kept rebuilding and they twisted a building to make it stronger against the wind.”
“Engineers are trying to help people in other countries build bridges and with solar energy.”
“They kept trying to fix the solar energy car even when it failed again and again and then it succeeded!”
“They build houses and bridges that don’t fall.”
“They show you how buildings are made strong and can stand against tornadoes.”
When the students were asked if they would like to be an engineer someday after seeing the movie, the responses were overwhelmingly positive!
The teachers were inspired as well. Eartha Marryshow, third-grade teacher at Whittier, said that she hoped to build on the concepts in the movie to spark interest for engineering in her classroom and to inspire students to embrace engineering as a career. Students in the theater getting ready to see “Dream Big…” with their 3D glasses on!
Long-time RESET volunteer Mike Goldstein thought it was great that the movie introduced “the thought process that engineers go through” and that students, whether or not they choose to become engineers, are now more aware of how engineers contribute to society. With its focus on problem-solving, teamwork and the power of imagination, it falls right in line with RESET’s “hands-on” approach to STEM, showing students even at a young age that they can make advances and discover solutions on their own.
Both, Ms. Marryshow and Mr. Goldstein agreed that we should have more resources like this film to inspire and inform students and teachers. Making them more accessible through normal educational channels at school and through other media would reach a larger population of students, spreading awareness and motivating upcoming generations to become engineers.
The RESET field trip was an enjoyable and fun treat for the students and offered an unparalleled learning opportunity to experience up close the important concepts of engineering. RESET is grateful to ASCE for enabling over 600 students from RESET schools to take part in in these memorable field trips this term.