National Biomechanics Day shares the wonders of STEAM to local students

National Biomechanics Day is an annual celebration of biomechanics. The collaborative event at Elon is facilitated by faculty in the Exercise Science, Performing Arts and Physical Therapy Education departments.

Elon students and faculty offer National Biomechanics Day workshops at ACS and CTEC school.

On March 29 and April 5, Elon University faculty and students celebrated National Biomechanics Day with local Alamance County elementary, middle and high school students for integrated teaching and learning STEAM outreach workshops.

National Biomechanics Day is an annual celebration of biomechanics. The collaborative event at Elon is facilitated by faculty in the Exercise Science, Performing Arts and Physical Therapy Education departments.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) was the approach used in multiple outreach events, offering a bridge connecting experiential learning of new integrated science through the art of body structure and function. As support continues for visibility and education of STEAM career pathways, the seventh annual National Biomechanics Day celebration at Elon has received incredible support from various departments, faculty, students and community members.

Biomechanics in action!

This year, faculty and students offered outreach workshops at two local schools inside Alamance County. On March 29, a new partnership began with 80 elementary third grade students at the Alamance Community School (ACS).

Sixty high school students at the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) on April 5 also returned to participate in the event. Both schools explored jump assessment data, grip strength and muscle activations, while the latter school also integrated higher level memory motor skills, and balance trials using proprioception. With a tailored approach to discuss the broad range of biomechanical applications, CTEC students were specifically introduced to career opportunities available to them in this field.

CTEC students explore their range of motion with Elon student facilitators

Collective efforts from Associate Professor in Physical Therapy Education Srikant Vallabhajosula, Professor of Exercise Science Joyce Davis and Lecture Professor in Performing Arts Dance Science Jasmine Powell collaborated to create sessions tailored for each school group. With diverse knowledge towards a collective vision, each member developed student interest in biomechanics and its applications.

National Biomechanics Day faculty and students at local elementary school

Elon student volunteers from each department also worked to engage with the student groups. While providing hands-on teaching experience for relatable activities and fun involvement with community members, these Exercise Science, Dance Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy students were extremely engaged with the delivery of knowledge in an interactive way.

The faculty and volunteers involved include: Anna Lipsman, Carolyn Oliver, Jacob Wagner and Christina Westbrooks (Exercise Science), Lauren Davenport (Performing Arts Dance Science), Terris Hightower, Rachel Davis, Katie Messikomer, Katelyn Carpenter, Kasey Sutryk, Jared Smith, Emi Chirigliano, Gabby Flocco and Hannah Wright (first year DPT), Ashlyn Loring, Nicole Ridge, Christopher Go, Alicia Wilson, Alex Japit (second year DPT), Makena Mueller and Deanna DeMarco (third year DPT), Grace London (Biomechanics Lab PACE student)

High school students test how long they can stay in the air.

Integration of teaching and experiential learning was at the forefront of the experience as faculty instructors worked attentively with the Alamance County School teachers. The third grade events integrated their recent lessons of the body systems into comprehensible pieces appropriate for their age/growth mindset.

Full of smiles, energy, and questions, the students applied hands-on knowledge to supplement and reinforce their lessons in a very effective way promoting critical thinking of the topics.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything more. We loved the stations, and the students thoroughly enjoyed them as well. The presentation matched students’ needs perfectly. We are so thankful for your expertise and willingness to share,” said Erica Moyer, ACS teacher.

Connecting third grade lessons plans to National Biomechanics Day workshop discussions

With hopeful continued impact on the local community as well as students on campus, the various departments are excited to keep this initiative going. Please keep an eye out for other National Biomechanics Day events as they appear throughout the year and for annual events next year!