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FLOW Mentoring at Hollywood Elementary

    Future Leaders of Our World (FLOW) is an after school mentoring program in St Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS). At Hollywood Elementary School (HES), the FLOW program pairs twelve students with adult or High School student mentors for one to two years. The program seeks to build positive relationships and support academic, social and personal success.

    growingSTEMS was invited to participate in an afternoon of Fun Science with the HES FLOW group. Rose Whitmoyer, Zach Long and Rachel Hall (LHS 2012) led the group in a series of activities.

    The students and mentors were first introduced to very tiny, very hard, colored beads which allegedly absorb and hold water for an extended period of time. Students made predictions about the amount of water absorbed, final color, texture and cohesiveness of the beads at thirty and forty five minutes of immersion in tap water.

    After starting the growingBEADS experiment, the group was divided. Group one stayed with Miss Rose and Miss Rachel to learn about Newtonian (as in Isaac Newton, not Jimmy Neutron) fluids. They made OOBLECK! Group Two ventured into the Hallway where Mr. Zach introduced the WiBot, Abigail. Students quickly learned to use the balance board to drive Abigail around the hallway. Abigail was seen sneaking up on people! Groups One and Two switched activities. Everyone was able to drive WiBot and make Oobleck.

    The groups came back together to assess the progress of the bead/water experiment. Many were surprised at the increased size and especially the texture of the beads. “It feels like frog eggs” and “wow” were frequent comments. The students and mentors of FLOW were able to verbalize properties of liquid, based upon both the bead and Oobleck activities. They were introduced to computer programming, electrical transmissions and LED technology through the WiBot.

    The FLOW students were excited and asked for the growingSTEMS team (“those people with the cool science stuff”) to come back before the end of the year.