Students and SRS Employees Explore “Teach-Ins” throughout CSRA Middle Schools

Bruce Easterson, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Senior Vice President, Chief Engineer and Nuclear Safety Officer, provides advice to a team of Kennedy Middle School students building an air-powered racecar during SRS Teach-Ins at area middle schools.

AIKEN, S.C., (March 7, 2019) – Savannah River Site (SRS) engineers and scientists recently provided interactive demonstrations and informative discussions to give students throughout the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) a broader understanding of the fields of science and engineering.

“Teach-Ins” were held featuring interactive, science and engineering-based demonstrations at 30 CSRA middle schools in support of National Engineers Week. In total, 72 teach-in sessions were conducted over a two-week period. More than 60 SRS engineers and scientists volunteered to support this program.

Managed by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) since 2008, Teach-Ins have reached more than 20,000 students within this region. Over the years, hundreds of enthusiastic SRS Teach-In volunteers have provided thousands of hours of assistance and shared high-level skills.

"With this approach to learning, you see the practical applications they are bringing to us," said Reginald Dupree, Kennedy Middle School, seventh grade science teacher. "It's not just me providing information. The students are engaged and deeply involved with the presenters who are a part of the real world."

The students at participating middle schools benefit from a wide range of science and engineering demonstrations and clever presentations to include the following topics: the properties of fire, making a bridge out of straws, air-powered model cars, creating homemade hover crafts and fiber optic communication systems.

"The hands-on parts were inspiring especially because of my plans to become an aerospace engineer, and what they were doing today is similar to how communication satellites are repaired in space," said Brian Harding, a seventh grader at Kennedy Middle School. "These SRS employees can greatly help us with our academic futures."

Middle schools in the South Carolina counties of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Edgefield, plus the Georgia counties of Columbia and Richmond, participated in this year's SRNS outreach program.

"I really appreciate that these volunteers are coming to my school to teach us what they know," said Kennedy Middle seventh grader Antonio Taylor. "It's important to me."

The Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office provides a variety of science and literacy outreach programs with the goals of drawing interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) and improving education in the Central Savannah River Area.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken, South Carolina.