The Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) welcomed 400 people from all ages, interests, and backgrounds to its third annual INSIDE GSSM day on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the school’s Hartsville campus. The event drew families and individuals from across Darlington County and 16 other South Carolina counties. One group of elementary and middle school students traveled by bus from the Aiken area. Guests were greeted by over 200 GSSM students, faculty, and staff who enthusiastically involved participants in a variety of interactive learning experiences designed specifically for the event.
INSIDE GSSM was created to give younger students opportunities to explore the wonders of STEM and the humanities, as well as to experience the uniqueness and diversity of the GSSM learning community. “As a statewide institution serving our future South Carolina STEM leaders, opening our doors to our community and to our children is our responsibility,” said Dr. Hector Flores, President of GSSM. “It is a pleasure to see how science and technology hands-on experiences engage the students at their deepest beings.” When asked about one of his favorite INSIDE GSSM moments, Dr. Flores said, “I loved sharing some hands-on exercises such as making slime. So much fun!”
This year’s INSIDE GSSM featured over 40 interactive activities, which included a prototype of the new GSSM Elementary STEAM bus. Each activity focused on encouraging young learners to ask questions and seek solutions. Some of the activities and workshop this year included DNA & Your Lungs, Hispanic Cultural Travels, Native American Mysteries, Shakespeare Workshop, making Suncatchers in the Art Room, On a Roll with Physics, Geometry Shapes, and back by popular demand, were the 3D printing workshop, the Hartsville Balloon Man, and the Fluffy Slime activity. Susan Engelhardt, the Outreach Instructor & Program Coordinator, responsible for coordinating the activities said, “It was heartwarming to see so many young aspiring students, along with their parents, engaging in hands-on and minds-on activities with our GSSM students, faculty, and staff. The excitement was contagious.”
New to INSIDE GSSM Day was the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream workshop. Participants learned about the science of making ice cream and then enjoying their tasty creations. A unique opportunity this year was interacting with a group of Citadel Cadets and an instructor working on a NASA project that involved launching high altitude weather balloons from the GSSM campus. Many enjoyed participating in one of the balloon launch countdowns. The Cadets and the instructor entrained questions about the project and the use of high altitude balloons for collecting weather related data.
“One of our goals for INSIDE GSSM is to create a campus-wide experience where exploration, discovery, and learning are encouraged and celebrated by all those involved in the day,” said Randy LaCross, VP for Outreach & Global Initiatives. “From the feedback I received, the interactions I witnessed, and the activities I observed, I would say we accomplished our goal. Our 3rd Annual INSIDE GSSM Day was truly a day of imagination, inspiration, innovation and fun! We look forward to next year and the opportunity we will have to share the GSSM experience with hundreds more!”
Pictured above: Students from Aiken with GSSM President