(TNS) -- Using a calculator to multiply his findings, fifth-grader Andrew Simms learned firsthand how golf course superintendents use science, technology, engineering and math skills to do their jobs at Westminster National Golf Course on Wednesday morning. Andrew was one of 90 Winfield Elementary School students who visited the course for hands-on STEM activities.
"We're learning more about math because we're measuring the length and width to get the area. It helps you understand how much water and seed you need to put in certain places," Andrew said.
The trip was part of a national STEM program called First Green. The program, which began in 1997, uses golf courses as learning labs.
At the science station, students learned about soil sampling and identified different grass and seed varieties. At the technology station, students learned how golf courses conserve water using moisture meters. At the math station, students calculated measurements that superintendents often use to apply fertilizer. At the putting station, golf pros taught students how to engineer their swing.
"We're getting kids out of the classroom and seeing what golf course superintendents do on a daily basis," said superintendent Ryan Kraushofer. "We want to show them how technology fits into the job."
Winfield Elementary physical education teacher Meghan Robertson said the trip shows students "there's a lot more to golf than just the sport itself."
"Golf can be a lifetime physical activity for students, so introducing them to the sport at a young age is important," Robertson said.
Winfield Elementary fifth-grade team leader Denise Sharbaugh said the trip complements the students' units on earth systems and conservation.
"It's a great hands-on learning experience and it gives them a different perspective about conservation," Sharbaugh said. "I like that it's cross-curricular, they're getting STEM education and physical education at the same time."
After putting, fifth-grader Emma Larimore said she learned more about golf.
"They taught us how to incorporate the hill and putt based on how the wind is blowing," Emma said.
Added fifth-grader Aubrey Schroeder, "They showed us the amount of force to use to get it in the hole."
After the math station, fifth-grader Ryan Matthews said they practiced how to measure areas of the golf course.
"It's STEM learning because you're finding out the length and width of something," Ryan said.
"I found out there's 121 acres here and I didn't realize it was that big," added fifth-grader Ella Robb.
Fifth-grader William Knight said the trip helps prepare the students for middle school.
"This helped us learn harder math and challenged us," William said.
©2017 the Carroll County Times (Westminster, Md.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.