A number of our parents at Montessori Tides School work at the University of North Florida, and two of them welcomed a group of students into their workplace for a field trip.
The Upper Elementary class and the third-years from Lower Elementary joined for a tour of the School of Engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction, and a tour of the TV studio in the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences on Friday.
The UNF trip was a great opportunity for the third-years to get reacquainted with friends who have moved up and to begin the transition into the classroom with Miss Jess and Miss Chelsea.
The morning at UNF started with an experiment to create a soda can battery with Dr. Steve Stagon, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an MTS parent. Dr. Steve and his student assistants helped the MTS students to light an LED using a common ingredient — soda.
Using alligator clips, soda, a piece of aluminum can that the students sanded, copper and a plastic cup, the students were able to string together 10 cups of soda that produced 6.8 volts, more than enough to power the small light.
After creating the electrochemical cell, Dr. Steve talked to the students about the importance of using chemistry to create electricity. Since fossil fuels eventually will run out, he said, it’s important to find alternative fuel sources.
After the experiment, the students split into smaller groups to visit other labs.
In the manufacturing lab, the students donned safety glasses and earplugs to watch as a UNF student used a machine to cut into a block of metal with what looked like an oversized drill bit. In the 3-D Printing lab, the students saw the 3-D printers, objects made with the printers and watched as the UNF students worked their projects.
Baxter, however, was probably the biggest hit of the morning. He is, after all, a humanoid robot, complete with facial expressions on his iPad face. The students enjoyed watching Baxter as his UNF handlers tasked him with picking up a block off of a table and dancing. Although, a few students felt Baxter needed a few new moves.
Baxter, who was purchased for the UNF students to program, is geared toward helping workplaces with automated job functions.
After lunch and some exercise on the Green, the students again split into two groups, this time meeting with Dr. John Parmelee, chair of the Department of Communication and an MTS parent.
One part of the afternoon visit included a short tour of campus with a stop to watch the turtles in the pond outside the library. The other part included a visit to the TV studio, where the TV show “Inside Jacksonville” is produced by the UNF students as part of a class.
The students greatly enjoyed getting in front of the cameras and behind the cameras in the studio. They were able to stand in front of the green screen and see themselves on the TV screen with the “Inside Jacksonville” logo behind them. They also had the opportunity to sit at the anchor desk.
Some of the students also spoke with Dr. David Deeley, who explained some of the equipment they use putting together the show.
“It’s so important for the students to be exposed to higher education and to see some of the possibilities that are out there,” Miss Jess said. “I am so grateful to our Tides parents who made this field trip possible. The kids loved it!”