Expedition Earth: A STEM Center Earth Science Event

This past October, the earth science program hosted their largest outreach event to date, Expedition Earth, sponsored by the TTU STEM Center. Over the course of two days, more than 270 k-12 students and their families learned about earth science phenomena. The STEM Center was transformed overnight into a virtual Natural Science and History museum. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Mr. Jerry Jacene, visitors had an opportunity to stand face-to-face with a T-Rex, Triceratops and a number of other amazing vertebrate fossils.  Additionally, each room in the STEM center hosted activities focused on geology and geography topics. Check out the photos below and stay tuned for the next earth science outreach event. [Photos courtesy of TTU Photo Services.]

STEM 1

Jerry Jacene, TTU alumni and vertebrate paleontologist, describes the cavity of a T-Rex tooth.

STEM 2

The boys reach into the T-Rex skull to feel the depth of the tooth cavity.

STEM 6

TTU alumni Brandon Page, right, helps out with mineral identification at the gold panning station.

STEM 10

A future gold prospector fills his pan with water. Sediments in the trough were collected from Coker Creek, a known area for gold panning in southeastern Tennessee.

STEM 3

Earth science seniors Chelsea Morphis, Joel Laine and Tyler Riggle help students create plaster molds of a velociraptor tooth.

STEM 8

Three young onlookers carefully study a rock sample.

STEM 5

Students Ashley Parkans (left) and Eric Eckart (right) explain mineral properties to an Upper Cumberland family.

STEM 7

Student Ryan Gardner explains how groundwater flows using a table-top model.

STEM 4

Earth science senior Dakota Guidry helps students create chocolate volcanoes, an activity that demonstrates the importance of viscosity on volcanic eruptions.

STEM 12

Randal Roberson, a senior earth science student and paleontologist, explains vertebrate fossils to visitors.

STEM 9

A group of children look on as Audrey Pattat describes how igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks form.

STEM 11

Andrew Eagar helps kids construct toothpick and clay structures before simulating an earthquake using a shake table.

STEM 13

Dr. Li explains basic mapping skills and geography to students in the STEM Center.

Special thanks to Sally Pardue and the staff of the TTU STEM Center for helping ensure this event was a success. Jerry Jacene and Dr. Knox were kind enough to transport vertebrate fossils to the STEM Center for display and explain their origins to interested students. Many, many TTU students and faculty assisted with the event – – thank you for helping bring earth science to the Upper Cumberland community! Finally, a big word of thanks to TTU Photo Services for photographing the event.

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