STEM night has replaced the traditional science fair.
Portraying Meg Whitman, CEO and President of Hewlett Packard, kindergartener Katie Keppler waited for Janie Ruddy to give her a STEM participation pin on Thursday night in the Rymfire Elementary gymnasium.
“We have a Hall of Scientist Living Museum with the kindergarteners impersonating someone past or present that has influenced science or technology” Janie Ruddy math and science coach said.
Katie, dressed in a business suit even wore Whitman's signature pearls.
Science fairs are found in schools across the country, but last year Rymfire decided to change their format.
“Instead of the traditional science fair where they bring in a board with their project we decided to make it more hands on with parents,” Ruddy said. “They are teaching their parents something they have learned in class. The parents also get to see a representation of what to expect from kindergarten to sixth grade.”
“It's nice because it's household items that they can try at home and the exploration continues.” NATALIE TWOMBLY, teacher Rymfire Elementary
Tables of projects from robotics to engineering, medical Jeopardy, and an agility room kept parents and students busy.
“After the students have visited and participated at four booths, they come back with their paper signed and get a pin,” Ruddy said. “We do a positive reinforcement system at this school and the students get pins for different activities and behavior. They collect them and wear them on their school ID lanyards.”
Each area was run by the students. Fifth grader Ben Kopach was one of the student explaining the robotics area.
“We are programming the robot we built to detect and stop on any color that we choose,” Ben said.
Ben is a member of the school robotics club that meets weekly and is interested in a back up career as an engineer. First, though, he would like to be a soccer player on the United States men's national soccer team.
Marshmallows seemed to be a popular building material. Teacher Natalie Twombly watched as students built towers with uncooked spaghetti and mini marshmallows, demonstrating engineering and construction basics.
“They immediately go for height as opposed to support and the higher the tower is, the more support they are going to need,” Twombly said. “This is something new for them to explore tonight and it's nice because it's household items that they can try at home, and the exploration continues.”