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How Vista Outdoor Employees and Foam Earplugs Support STEM Education

This past May, Scott Moore and Jim Persoon from the Federal Premium facility in Anoka, Minnesota, supported the STEMLink5 Program by providing highly interactive hands-on demonstrations of physics and mathematics to groups of students representing over 20 metro-area schools.  The event was held at Normandale Community College and was sponsored, in part, by Vista Outdoor.

The hands-on demonstrations involved weighing assorted foam earplugs (using an RCBS scale), storing energy in the form of compressed gas (accomplished with a manual bicycle pump) then using the stored energy to launch a foam earplug and record their velocities which were measured with a chronograph.

This activity brought to life the formula for kinetic energy (KE = 1/2MV2) which set the stage for an introduction to basic algebra as each of the variables were individually altered, hypothesis were formed and then tested. It was very impressive how well the students did with the manipulation of the formula to solve for each variable as well as converting the data to other units of measure.  The fastest earplug of the day was traveling at 601 feet per second (410 mph)!

The STEMLink5 Program is engineered to inspire and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and career options for fifth grade students from all across the Minneapolis metro area.