The Pandemic &
The Pump Handle
Many of us have heard time and time again that truth is stranger than fiction and while the title of this article may hint at the possibility of an odd C.S. Lewis fiction novel, this is the true story of a physician whose dedication to science and critical thinking that led to solving the origin of a deadly pandemic that struck England during the early 19th century.
If you are unfamiliar with Dr. John Snow – don’t worry – so, were we. However, after learning more about this unique man, we feel he’s a fascinating historical figure who is worthy of significant recognition and praise for his dedication to the truth.
Dr. Snow was the eldest son of a farmer who at the age of 14 began an apprenticeship with a surgeon. In 1831, only four years after the start of his apprenticeship there was an outbreak of Cholera in England. John Snow’s care of the patients along with his attention to detail and record-keeping proved to be invaluable as well as forming the basis of his work that would assist him in revealing the true source of a severe cholera outbreak that would occur 23 years later. At a time when scientists were attributing the cause of Cholera to “bad air,” John Snow was mapping the root cause of this deadly disease.
In August of 1854 London’s Soho district became ground zero for a Cholera outbreak and within 10 days 500 people had died from the disease. Thanks to John Snow and his devotion to detail and mapping of the cholera cases, roads led back to a water pump handles and the water supply that became the epicenter for the bacteria. It is thanks to John Snow and his dedication to facts and not fiction that led to improved sanitation facilities and public health. To learn more about John Snow click the STEM Starter Student Icon below.
THE HISTORY OF STEM STARTER
How is anyone inspired to start a new project?
Truthfully - it begins with identifying a need or gap in services and then choosing to become the person, or people, who want to fill that need.
That is what STEM Starter is all about - filling a need.
In 2018, a college student studying Physics & Philosophy, identified a gap in STEM education and decided to do address this community need. She noticed STEM education of elementary and middle school students was lacking the support they required for an effective STEM education, specifically in under-served and under-represented communities. Additionally, she noted that with support, guiding materials, and creativity there is no reason why the STEM fields cannot be introduced, taught, and encouraged at home.
That is where STEM Starter begins.
A unique quality that every scientist, engineer and mathematician shares is the ability to ask questions. With that said, nobody asks more questions than children! Therefore, it is our belief that children are natural born STEM students and it is our hope that
STEM Starter will assist students, parents, teachers, and caregivers in nurturing that wondrous curiosity.
STEM Starter, Inc. is an educational non-profit (501c3) organization that simply provides STEM activities and experiments for students interested in the STEM fields. More importantly, these activities do not require fancy equipment, membership, or the purchase of expensive supplies. On the contrary, STEM Starter explores our everyday activities and then demonstrates exactly how those activities fit into one of the STEM fields. For example, STEM Starter answers questions such as:
- When you twist a lid off of a jar, why does the lid move up?
- Can you measure the amount of square feet in a room?
- Can you build your own balance?
- Can you make glasses "sing"?
- Why do circle wheels work better than square wheels on a bicycle?
Every STEM Starter activity includes the following: A "Problem Question" to be explored; Encourages the development of a Hypothesis; Outlines the experiment with instructions and corresponding pictures; Provides a post Q&A opportunity that includes an explanation section for parents, caregivers, and teachers. Additionally there are expansion sections that assist adults by challenging and encouraging their budding STEM student to explore their area of interest even further all while providing nurturing support. The goal of STEM Starter is to harness the STEM of everyday activities and demonstrate to children that they're currently living in, surrounded by and utilizing science, technology, engineering and math; all they need to do - is ask questions.
There are so many ways you can help STEM Starter; all you have to do is look for the gaps in service or unique opportunities in your community. Here at STEM Starter we try not to duplicate programs; rather we try to compliment what already exists.
Are you a student?
- Volunteer as a Peer Tutor at your school.
-Develop an experiment and submit it to STEM Starter. You might even see your experiment on our website!
Are you a parent?
- Donate a copy of STEM Starter Charting a New Course to a local library, community organization, police department or juvenile detention center.
Are you an educator?
Inspire your students to create STEM experiments at home that can be reused in the classroom. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to learn about everyday items.
Are you a business?
Sponsor a donation of STEM Starter Charting a New Course to a school or organization in your community.