The Clyde Hill gym was abuzz with students and their families at the school’s annual Science Fair and STEM night this spring.
As they entered the gym, students could participate in six different activities led by Clyde Hill staff members. They could also work together to build towers out of pipe cleaners, take part in a robotics demonstration, explore their peers’ science experiments, and visit nearby classrooms to take part in three different engineering design challenges: “Team Up,” “Puff Mobile,” and “Launchers.”
“Nice work my super scientists!” One teacher praised students as they participated in the various activity stations. The stations included exploring sound (“Make it Loud”), the strength of different shapes (“Arches”), and more: “Glue is the Clue,” “Let’s Communicate,”, “Boxing Beans,” and “Domino Diving Board.”
At the Arches station, overseen by reading specialist Kari Rebmann, students tested different bridge structures to see if a flat or curved bridge could hold more weight by stacking erasers on cardstock bridges.
“There’s so much crossover between content areas,” Rebmann said of why she wanted to support the event through volunteering. “The things students were trying out and experimenting with in their science projects is very impressive!”
At another station that was showcasing robotics, students demonstrated programming a robot to maneuver around cones set up on the gym floor.
“Our goal was to have meaningful and engaging activities for students and their families and to continue to raise awareness of STEM,” Instructional Technology Curriculum Leader Chhoun Mey said. “Being able to have STEM night brings all the students together.”
He went on to explain how Clyde Hill staff are working to help students make connections to what they learn in class with their experiences outside of school.
“We are encouraging the kids to think of the everyday applications of science,” Chhoun added. “They can draw that from social studies, history, things they’ve seen on television. It makes it more tangible for them.”
Clyde Hill’s PTSA organized the science fair experiments and students’ projects were displayed in the gym by grade level. The projects included everything from exploding volcanos, glowing slime, investigating the densities of liquids and the expanding and contracting effects of different temperatures to making a homemade centrifuge and learning about how green screens work.
The science fair, Chhoun said, gives students the opportunity to apply and expand upon the content and concepts that they are learning in class. And to tailor that additional learning to their own particular areas of interest.
Fourth grader Thejas Karthik did an experiment in which he explored the amount of energy in different kinds of nuts by burning them. Specifically he asked if a peanut or walnut contained more energy.
“I wanted to do the science fair project because I wanted to learn something new,” he said. “My favorite part about the science fair and STEM night was the judges announcing the winners for each grade because it was exciting and thrilling!”