By Bob McElroy
USAG Humphreys Public Affairs
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Korea – Humphreys Central Elementary School students learned a bit about how things work when volunteers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District visited the school on April 19 as part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math week.
Camp Humphreys STEM coordinator Jennifer Moore, a project manager with the FED, said this is the third year in a row they’ve presented to the school.
“It’s great, the kids love it,” Moore said. “We hope to inspire young minds to pursue sciences… we try to make it fun and interesting.”
The FED volunteers demonstrated principles of displacement, aerodynamics, flight, electricity and magnetism, structural strength and tension. Far from being boring demonstrations, the displays provided an interactive experience for the youngsters.
At one table Maj. Al Flowers, Deputy Area Engineer for Construction at Humphreys, demonstrated Archimedes’ Principle of Density.
Flowers poured water into a glass and then asked a student to add pancake syrup. They syrup sank to the bottom, showing it to be more dense than water.
Next he asked another student to drop a green olive into the glass—it too sank to the bottom.
When a third student dropped a cherry tomato into the glass it didn’t sink, it dropped halfway and stopped.
Finally a fourth student dropped a small block of wood into the glass—it floated on top of the oil.
Flowers said that each demonstrated the principles Greek mathematician Archimedes developed more than 2,000 years ago.
Nearby, Project Manager John Noll, project engineer Myles Esmele and partner engineer Lilian Ukwute demonstrated how electricity and magnetism work, among their props was a model race car with an electric motor.
In the corner, Christine Kastl, an engineering support assistant and engineering intern Phillip Abbott taught students about structural strength using paper cups.
They placed a dozen or so paper cups top down on the floor, covered them with a square of cardboard and asked a student to stand on the platform—it held.
Gradually, they removed cups but the structure continued to support the students—until an energetic one jumped onto the platform and crushed some of the cups.
Across the room, Col. Phil Keller and Col. Mick Nyenhuis discussed aerodynamics using blow dryers, ping pong balls and golf balls.
“Today, this is not a blow dryer, it’s a wind machine,” Keller told the students.
Keller turned on the wind machine and handed it to a student. He placed a ping pong ball into the air stream and it floated several inches high. Keller then placed a golf ball into the air stream but it was too heavy and sat on the opening, the air flowing around it. The golf ball continued to float above it despite the obstructed air stream.
Maj. Michael S. Lohrenz, Deputy Resident Engineer, Pyeongtaek Resident Office said the experiments give students a range of different things to think about, especially the ways engineering impacts everything that they do.
“Engineering touches everything that we do and everything that surrounds us,” Lohrenz said. “If those experiences can lead them to something that can change the world then that’s a great thing.”