New indoor field trip that explores science, history launches this month

A new indoor field trip experience is being launched this month at Conner Prairie that allows students to explore science and learn how it has helped shape Indiana’s history.

Staff Report
A new indoor field trip experience launches this month at Conner Prairie that will allow elementary students and homeschoolers to explore science and learn how it connects to Indiana’s history.

The museum’s educational team piloted “Exploring Indiana History and STEM” last year with students in fourth grade from two Fishers elementary schools.

Staff created eight different stations using the museum’s Create.Connect exhibit as a starting point– stations at which students could work individually and together to explore science, technology, engineering and math concepts and overcome some sort of challenge. It takes students about 20 minutes to navigate each station.

During the new Exploring Indiana History and STEM indoor field trips, students navigate eight different stations individually and as groups. Each station takes about 20 minutes to complete.

“A teacher made the comment that Create.Connect could be a stand-alone field trip by itself,” said Dana Jones, school program manager at Conner Prairie. “We wanted to incorporate science and history into a field trip that would take place during the winter months when our historic grounds were closed.”

The eight STEM-related stations that comprise an Exploring Indiana History and STEM field trip experience are:

Design, Build, Crash
Students design and build a car and then crash it to see if it can withstand the impact. They then re-design their car to see if they can lessen the impact of the crash by changing some of the design elements.

Helium Party Balloons
Students explore the lifting power of helium gas. In teams, they’ll construct a gondola, attach it to three helium balloons and see how many paper clips the helium balloons can lift into the air.

Oldey-Timey Objects and STEM
Students touch and interact with different objects from the past. They’re not told what the object is at first but are given a set of questions to guide them as their teams explore the object to figure out its purpose.

Imagination Station
Students build with imagination blocks. They work together to create a structure based off a problem that has been posed to their group.

Students build a paper glider. They then conduct a test flight. The, they must enhance their design to make the glider fly farther than the original design flew.

The group will work at two activities. At an electrical output station, students work to determine the best way to build a turbine to create maximum electrical energy output. Then at a windmill station, students build their own windmills using different materials to see which best lifts a paperclip.

Groups work together to build a Morse code machine that uses a tiny lightbulb. Once the device is built, a student types a message to the rest of the group using Morse code. The group tries to figure out what the message is by watching a blinking light and using their Morse code translator sheet.

Invention (Chain-Reaction)
Students are told their company wants to manufacture the chain-reaction design that will be highly efficient. They are presented with two different designs. Groups build the designs, test them and decide which design would be the best to submit for production.

Create.Connect is an indoor exhibit at Conner Prairie that explores how science, technology, engineering and math helped shape Indiana’s history.

The field trips are being offered to six area elementary schools this year, including Frankton Elementary, Geist Elementary, Saint Paul Catholic Parish School, Phalen Leadership Academy, Highlands Latin School and Brooks School Elementary.

Homeschool families can participate in the program from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 and reservations for a spot on that date for homeschoolers are now being accepted. The cost is $6.50 per student, $6.50 per chaperone and free for the primary educator. A 30-minute lunch period is included in the time; participants must bring their own lunches.

Reservations can be made by contacting Guest Services at (317) 776-6000.