Peru, Nebraska – The Peru State College of Education hosted their 23rd semi-annual Brain Quest learning event on December 1. Brain Quest is a biannual program for third graders that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM learning.
Elementary Education majors at Peru State designed multiple activities to encourage hands-on engagement with STEM concepts. Over 300 third graders from surrounding elementary schools participated in this year’s activities. Participating schools included Auburn, Chandler View, Falls City and HTRS.
Some of this year’s projects included “Spy Training,” “Wildside Dentistry,” “Exploding Colors,” “Top Chef Peru Jr.” and “Escape Camping.” Visiting students also ate lunch on campus.
Dr. Gina Bittner, associate professor of education, founded Brain Quest in 2006 during her first semester at Peru State College. Bittner was joined in recent years by assistant professor of education, Dr. Darolyn Seay. They host Brain Quest along with elementary education students each fall and spring semester.
Bittner says, “Brain Quest is a great opportunity for our teacher candidates to gain first-hand teaching experience with meeting students’ needs in math and science. The candidates work to use the STEM Standards (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to engage students in meaningful lessons.”
Seay had many good things to say about this year’s activities, remarking, “This event focuses on providing third-grade students with the opportunity to explore STEM-related, hands-on activities. The day has proven to be a high-impact event supporting community engagement, and lots of fun for all.”