Patton teacher spreads love of science at library
Posted on 07/22/2015

Michele Brantner, a STEM teacher at Patton Middle School, keeps the science teaching going over the summer.  Besides helping with the school district’s STEM camps at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, she also leads science workshops at the McMinnville Public Library as part of the summer reading program.

“We started this eight or nine years ago,” said Brantner.  “My favorite one is when we take apart computers. 

“I get some old computers and let the kids take them apart,” she said. “How many kids get to open up a computer and see what’s inside?”

The sessions are part of the Tuesday program “Science Mania,” which concludes next week.  August features a “Fem STEM” program on Tuesday mornings, a science program just for girls.  There are other programs for children, as well, including a Friday “Science Explorers” and “Art Explosion” and several story times and other activities.

This week was a new session about environmental engineering.  “This is very similar to what we do in a class at Patton,” said Brantner.  “It’s the same idea, just a little less in-depth.”

The project was about oil spills and how scientists clean them up.  The children learned about clean-up techniques and then worked as teams to experiment with pouring colored oil in tubs of water and trying to scoop out the oil with “equipment” that functioned in ways similar to real clean-up methods.

“They’re finding out how difficult it is to get the oil off the water,” said Brantner.  “They’re oil spill engineers.”