Lorentz excited after successful first year of STEM education

Lorentz excited after successful first year of STEM education

Recently, the OSU Extension Holmes County shared its past year’s accomplishments, which included plenty of learning in the kitchen for the kids with Kate Shumaker. A new endeavor saw educator Ella Lorentz hit the trails to area schools, where hundreds of students were introduced to STEM education opportunities including the solar eclipse, roller coasters and more.


Where do technology and “dirty jobs” unite?

In the classrooms of Holmes County’s youth.

This past year Ella Lorentz, OSU Extension Holmes County educator, dove headfirst into the world of STEM, taking it into the area elementary schools to connect with young students.

While she may have ended this school year as an educator, initially she joined the extension office as an assistant programmer, and her role there was very different than it is now.

“One of my main responsibilities as a program assistant was to get out into the classrooms,” Lorentz said. “I didn’t know if it would take off really well or what to expect, and it ended up exploding, which was really awesome. We were able to be in almost every single elementary school in Holmes County.”

In her travels throughout the school year, Lorentz, with the help of numerous Holmes County FFA and 4-H teens, impacted the lives of 873 students in Holmes County schools, helping elementary kids in 10 schools and even at West Holmes Middle School and Hiland High School experience STEM learning through programs including Diggin’ Those Dinos, Solar S/mores, Rockets Away, Eclipse, Cookie ROCKS, Join the Ride Rollercoasters and Apple Science.

The solar eclipse experience took place at Nashville and Lakeville elementary schools because those schools were in full totality. Kids received free eclipse glasses to experience the event.

“The goal was to give them a better understanding of what was going on,” Lorentz said. “Hopefully, they got a better sense of how and why the moon was able to cover the sun.”

The Cookie ROCKS centered around becoming a paleontologist and digging out the chocolate chips from a cookie to gain better introspect into the steady nerves and patience needed to explore science in that fashion.

Join the Ride explored the science behind roller coasters, where third-grade students around the county built roller coasters out of Styrofoam and marbles, exploring how momentum works.

“I think these are exciting programs because teachers are looking for educational things to do outside of the classroom,” Lorentz said. “The kids were up to these challenges, and I was excited to see how well it went.”

She said she recently went to Columbus to become certified in the field of Mike Rowe’s dirty jobs. As a certified trainer for Rowe’s many exploratory dirty jobs education, Lorentz will share Rowe’s work ethic program with young people through 4-H.

Starting in 2025, Ohio 4-H will be able to offer skills in that area for students participating in that program.

“I’ve already started talking to East Holmes Schools about that because I think this program would be very beneficial for students because it is geared toward students who may not want to go on to pursue higher education,” Lorentz said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, and this is getting them extra activities and more momentum to go directly into the workforce.”

As Lorentz continues to explore the many possibilities connected to both the STEM learning and Rowe’s program, the youth of Holmes County will be the recipients of the effort.

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