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Cornell Engineering students volunteer at BookFest 2014

Students from Cornell Engineering participated in the Family Reading Partnership’s Kids’ BookFest 2014.  The event was held at Ithaca’s Boynton Middle School on Saturday, November 8th.  The theme of the festival was “Imagination,” and the Cornell students helped out by leading an engineering activity called Imagineering: Ramp and Roll.

More than ten students from the CUAUV, SHPE, and Cornell Rocketry project teams interacted with many young readers as they came through the festival.  Melissa Bazley, Associate Director of Engineering Advising, helped organize the Cornell students’ participation at the event.  “It was fantastic to watch our students interacting with kids and getting them excited about science and engineering,” said Bazley.  “For our students, it was an opportunity to interact with families in Ithaca and help inspire future engineering students.”

The Family Reading Partnership is a non-profit community organization that promotes early literacy.  Their mission is “to create a culture of literacy in which all children in our community experience the pleasure of books as part of everyday family life, right from the start.”  In the weeks before the festival, the Family Reading Partnership distributed more than 4,000 copies of a selected book to the local school districts.  The book is called The Squiggle and it was written by Carole Lexa Schaefer.

Bazley, who, in addition to her full-time job at Cornell Engineering, volunteers with the Book Fest, reports the event was a great success.  The American Society of Civil Engineers provides Curious George-themed STEM lesson plans online and the Ramp and Roll activity came from this site.  The Cornell Engineering students used it to teach about ramps, inclines, friction, and gravity.  “I particularly enjoyed observing two little boys who spent at least an hour with the Cornell students, changing the angles and building obstacles on the ramps,” said Bazley.  “Our students enjoyed their enthusiasm and curiosity.”

To learn more about the Family Reading Partnership, click here: http://www.familyreading.org/index.htm

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