Up, Up and Away! Ramps & Pathways: Integrated STEM

University of Northern Iowa

The Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education and the Department of Technology at UNI are collaborating on the Ramps & Pathways Scale Up to give children across the state endless possibilities to think and create.

Ramps & Pathways, an integrative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activity gives children of all ages a chance to focus on learning through trial and error while developing their structure. STEM appeals to children's interests and desires to figure out how the physical world works and to modify the physical world to make something interesting happen. Participants use marbles, objects that roll and do not roll, and various materials that can be used as ramps to build ramp structures and investigate the movement of marbles and other objects on inclined planes.

The hands-on learning for this Scale Up project includes young children, but also college students. UNI Department of Technology professor Scott Greenhalgh and his students are manufacturing the Ramps & Pathways kits produced from Iowa lumber. UNI students are learning the complete manufacturing process - from locating and ordering raw materials and adapting existing equipment to fitting manufacturing needs, setting up production and ensuring timely delivery of the product.

These kits will be delivered to early childhood programs, schools and teachers across the state (300 teachers) who received awards from the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council's Scale UP Program. In addition, Lisa Riedle, department head of technology, is setting up Panther Educational Products. This will enable teachers and schools who are not part of the Scale Up program the opportunity purchase kits and training from the Regents' Center staff.

To learn about participating in a Ramps & Pathways Workshop or for more information, please contact the regents.center@uni.edu.