Published December 18, 2018
MIDLAND, TX (December 18, 2018) – A museum can fill a vital role for its community, providing exploratory learning experiences that inform and inspire. The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas, shares the petroleum and energy story of its region through educational programs, interactive exhibits, and more. By connecting young visitors to the region's past, it paves their way to the future. Now, thanks to Pitsco Education, the museum has a new set of tools to boost its educational outreach.
"The museum's education programs focus on both STEM and STEAM programming to inspire students and help them make connections within those fields to become better problem solvers," said the museum's director of education, Mara Bland. "We acknowledge the fact that not every student will become a scientist or an engineer, but we believe in the importance of thinking critically and developing skills at an early age."
During summer science camps this year at the petroleum museum, students unleashed their creativity with the help of makerspace carts and projects purchased from Pitsco. Young participants explored hydraulics, gears, pulleys, and more through hands-on activities. The Pitsco Maker Space Materials Package and Elementary Maker Space Tools Package provided unlimited open-ended opportunities for students to exercise their creativity.
Kits such as the T-Bot® II, which gives students experience creating and working with hydraulics, proved popular at the summer camps and beyond. "The students assembled the hydraulic arms and then we reutilized them in our STEM-gineering Family Science Night," said Bland.
Robotics is clearly a growing trend in industry, and the petroleum museum is ensuring that kids in Midland are exposed to this crucial 21st-century skill set. The Robotics Outreach program and Building Bots Robotics & Engineering Funlabs are loaded with robotics options, now including a wealth of TETRIX® PRIME products. The high-grade aluminum and plastic kits, combined with the EV3 controller module, allow for programmable robots. Students become the programmers and engineers working to bring innovation to our energy future.
The STEM and STEAM benefits from Pitsco products go beyond the walls of the museum. A plan is underway to create a lending library of trunks with Pitsco Straw Rocket Launcher kits that can be checked out by teachers in surrounding communities. The straw rockets are a popular activity that can be used to teach rocketry, aerodynamics, the scientific method, and more.
According to Bland, students, parents, staff, and school teachers have all expressed enthusiasm for the Pitsco kits and applications. And working with Pitsco has been a positive experience as well. "The Pitsco products have been extremely easy to utilize in our programs," said Bland. "They come with detailed instructions, and if we do happen to have any questions, the Pitsco team is amazing and helps us out in any way possible."
The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum recently completed and $18 million renovation of its petroleum exhibits that includes hands-on, interactive exhibits featuring new technologies in the industry alongside advances in supplemental energies. With an appreciation of their region's past and its present, students in the Midland, Texas, region will be prepared to lead a STEM-focused future.
Pitsco Education is the leading provider of hands-on K-12 STEM solutions. STEM education prepares learners for the future through the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts using relevant hands-on applications to connect school, community, and work. Our various products, activities, curriculum, and solutions promote positive learning experiences and continued classroom success.
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