Each summer, State Fair Community College provides students who are pre-kindergarten through sophomores the opportunity to explore, discover and create through Kids College.
Now in its sixth year, the four one-week sessions provide students with a number of hands-on learning opportunities they may not have the chance to experience in their regular school settings.
For SFCC Machine Tool Instructor Eric Rehmer and the five students in his college exploration class, the course was quite simply “a blast.”
“I can’t speak for the kids, but for me the best part of the class would have to be launching the soda bottle rocket that we did (Friday),” Rehmer said. “It was exciting to see all their hard work come together after they made the rockets and the satisfactions in their eyes as their rockets were launched successfully.”
The class, The Mystic of Automated Manufacturing, was designed to emphasize and engage the students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities.
“I’ve always liked building things but I don’t do many projects like this very often,” Aleah Borglum said. “I’m home-schooled and this was a good opportunity to use some of the tools and equipment that I don’t have access to at home.”
Borglum, like her classmates, was instructed on how to build a rocket using everyday materials including two-liter soda bottles and a tire pump as well as water for rocket fuel.
“For me, it’s fun to have the opportunity to introduce kids to new things,” Rehmer said. “The CNC (computer numeric controlled) machines and laser are a couple of machines the students get exposure to.
“This course offers the opportunity for kids to experience some areas of manufacturing that are both new and exciting to them,” he added. “Many of the things they were exposed to this week they may not have known existed before they took the class.”
Lowell Pilliard, who has attended many of the Kids College classes at SFCC in recent years, agreed that he learned new concepts in the class.
“I’ve come to quite a few of the classes in the past but this one with Mr. Rehmer has been especially fun,” Pilliard said. “It wasn’t just as simple as making a rocket out of a bottle.
“We had to examine things like weights and the amount of PSI or air pressure that was needed to lift the rocket,” he added. “We watched some online programs that we used to predict how well our rockets would do.”
Pilliard, like all of the students, said using the laser to cut the plastic fins needed for the rockets was one of the highlights of the class.
“I took the class because it sounded really fun when I heard about it,” said Gareth Herrington, who will be a seventh grader next year at Smith-Cotton Junior High. “It was cool to use all the machines we got to use to make our rockets.”
While spending the week in preparation was a fun learning experience for the students, all five agreed the best part of the class came Friday afternoon when they were finally ready to launch the vessels.
“I really liked using the machines and building the rockets,” Luke Rehmer said. “I just really hope mine doesn’t crash and burn.”
Rehmer need not worry, as his and all of the other launches were successful.
“Building and using the machines was really cool but the best part was the launch,” Drake Miller said after watching his rocket fly through the atmosphere before landing in the grass. “I thought we all did a really good job.”
Two additional sessions of Kids College are scheduled. Session three runs from July 11-15 and session four is scheduled for July 18-22.
For a complete schedule of available courses, fees, or to register online, visit www.sfccmo.edu/kids college. Additional information can be found by calling 660-530-5822 or by emailing email@example.com.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484