With classes online, 3M Filtrete helps Minnesota students do science experiments from home

One of the experiments from 3M

Some local companies are teaming up with school districts to help kids get hands-on learning from home. For many educators, distance learning has been a kind of uneven experiment.

"I’ve been teaching for 30 years and at times I feel like a first-year teacher again because it’s so new," said Sheri Prigge.

Prigge is a STEM teacher at Eagle Point Elementary School in Oakdale and is used to having a classroom full of young scientists.

"We’re a very hands-on class and now we’re trying to do it on the computer which has been very challenging," she explained.

That's why she was excited to hear her district was teaming up with 3M Filtrete to bring science to kids at home.

"Hi everyone," said 3M application engineer Kelsey Hei. "I’m Ms. Kelsey and today I’m here to talk about the air we breathe."

Kelsey Hei helped create an at-home air quality test. Using tape and other supplies, the test shows students how dust can collect in rooms around the house and challenges them to think about all of the other particles they can't see.

"Now with COVID, we’ve really seen a shift in people being more aware of what's in their air," Hei said.

"What we got to do is we got to make air filters and put them around the house," recalled student Maya Konsti.

Konsti is one of the third-grade scientists who conducted her own air test.

"It was like kind of weird to see all of the dust and dirt," said Konsti.

In a year where all of us are doing our own experimenting, the goal is to inspire kids to keep exploring the world -- even if it’s from home.

"A lot of stuff is relevant right now, how can we lend a hand and teach where we can," said Hei.

"To get them off the computer and then go and do something and use their creativity in a different way is so important for them," Prigge said.