S’mores + science = fun for visiting Chinese students

It’s the moment of reckoning exclaims an excited Kathleen Dwyer as she hands two Chinese youths the makings for s’mores.

Turning the treat over in their fingers, the boys eye the dessert with some suspicion.

“Ready?” asks Dwyer, a chemistry teacher at Maplewood–Richmond Heights High School. “Try it. It’s beautiful,” she says.

Slowly the boys bring the sweet treat to their mouths. One bite. Then another bite. Grins clearly convey approval for the traditional campfire treat of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate.

Kathleen Dwyer (center) watches as two visiting Chinese students try s’mores for the first time.

The two boys were part of a group of more than 30 Chinese students who visited Washington University in St. Louis in July as part of the Boy Scouts of America International Ambassador Program. The program is open to students in China, between the ages of 12 and 17. In addition to visiting U.S. scout camps, they visit university’s for STEM (Science, Technology,  Engineering and Mathematics) activities.”

At WashU, the group learned about the seven forms of energy and the science of energy transformations by playing with toys like kazoos. They then applied their lessons about solar energy and transformations to design solar ovens to make s’mores.

This is the third year that WashU has hosted the scouting event, with the Institute for School Partnership providing the STEM programming and recruiting St. Louis area teachers as instructors.

“The ISP was a natural fit to provide programming for the BSA because of our expertise in area K-12 STEM education,” says Chris Mohr, the laboratory and project manager at the ISP who coordinated the STEM programming. “Our office works with local teachers to create and teach the lessons, and also assists with providing a campus ‘college life’ experience at WashU. I really enjoy meeting the students and contributing to their view of our university, country, and the world.”

The Democrat News wrote about the group’s experience including their time at WashU. Click here to read the article.

August 2018 | by, Myra Lopez

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