STEM Learning in Erie and More

Please check out the March program page for info on this weekend's activities on the Trails of History.

Many thanks to frequent guest blogger Linda Bolla, of the Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, for the following info and photos:

Erie Maritime Museum recently debuted its first traveling STEM exhibit. Using this series of simple machines, a student can both feel and measure the mechanical advantage gained with the addition of pulleys. The Museum’s design elements are unique – students lift 12-pound cannon balls using a rig constructed with a maritime feel: proper ship’s blocks and hempex lines secured to a rail of belaying pins.

EMM Intern Brett Eckstrom teaches a lesson in mechanical advantage
The exhibit was designed to be easily portable, constructed and rigged by Museum volunteer docents, who also field tested it at Penn State Behrend’s Family STEM Night last month. Lesson plans and an assembly/safety manual were drafted by Museum Intern Brett Eckstrom, a PSU Behrend History Major in his junior year. Brett will also train museum docents to deliver the lesson this term.

EMM STEM team proudly debuts their hands-on exhibit (l to r, Ed Bolla, Brett Eckstrom, Rich Hall; not shown, Chris Laird and Linda Bolla)

In Other News...

So after mostly dodging the past several nor'easters, central PA got socked on the second day of spring. While other parts of the state have been hit with some of the earlier storms (and this one as well), Storm Toby was the Harrisburg area's first really serious brush with snow this winter. Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum posted some lovely after-storm photos (see below and visit their Facebook page for more).

Yellow Barn, Erisman House, and Tavern at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (via FB)
As a suggested means of whiling away a snow day, Landis Valley also posted a chocolate cake recipe from the Landis Valley Cookbook (p. 86) and media assistant Shayla Carey posted her video of preparing the cake. Don't watch it if you're hungry!

Bushy Run Battlefield posted a time-lapse video of staff and volunteers changing the period uniform on a mannequin in the visitor center exhibit (watch below or on YouTube). Bushy Run had a very successful Charter Day, but is not actually open for the 2018 season until Wednesday, April 18. In the meantime, they are getting ready for visitors.

On this Day in History - March 23

STEM edition:
  • 1857 - Elisha Otis installed the first modern passenger elevator in a public building.
  • 1903 - The Wright brothers obtained an airplane patent.
  • 1965 - America's first two-person space flight took off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard. The craft was the Gemini 3.


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