STEM Week offered at Hilltop Elementary


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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.A fourth-grade Hilltop Elementary School student looked at a slide through a microscope during the school’s annual STEM Week Nov. 7.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.School Resource Officer Steve Garstka of the Canfield Police Department (left) taught students about fingerprinting and how technology is used in fighting and solving crimes during Hilltop Elementary School’s annual STEM Week Nov. 7. Officer Garstka fingerprinted each child and gave them a card with their prints to take home.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Fourth-grade Hilltop Elementary School students got their hands dirty while learning during the school’s annual STEM Week Nov. 7.

By ABBY SLANKER

neighbors@vindy.com

Students at Hilltop Elementary School enjoyed STEM Week at the school Nov. 3-7. STEM Week, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, was created by a group of Hilltop parents and has been improved upon and has evolved each year.

Each grade had its own designated STEM day with activities which were grade level/age appropriate. Each class had one hour to themselves in the gym to explore each of the activities. PTO parent volunteers served at grade-level chairs, with approximately 120 volunteers helping throughout the week.

“I think it was very impressive we were able to pull so many volunteers to help us this week,” said Dave Wilkeson, STEM coordinator.

Before entering the gym, each class was divided into groups, with each group assigned to a station and then the groups rotated through the science, technology, engineering and math stations.

A few kindergarten students’ stations consisted of building boats out of tin foil and placing a penny on them to see if they would float; building forts out of recycled materials and geo boards, which helped them learn about shapes.

During some of their time, first-graders played Sink or Float as they tried to figure out if such objects as pumice stones, soap, sponges and cans of regular and diet soda would float or sink; made paper airplanes and made structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks.

Second-graders were able to experiment with lift and air pressure; played a giant Jenga game; stacked cups and completed tangram puzzles.

Third-grade students were able to learn about dry ice; see a demonstration of a cloud in a bottle; make instant snow and play a real-life version of Angry Birds and Minecraft.

Fourth-grade STEM day included such math activities as at which students ‘building’ ice cream sundaes had to get as close to 6 ounces as possible by adding or taking away toppings and playing a life-size game of Battleship using their math skills. They also learned about how to clean up oil spills, solar energy and looked at several slides though microscopes.

New this year, in the field of technology, School Resource Officer Steve Garstka of the Canfield Police Department taught the children about fingerprinting and how technology is used in fighting and solving crimes. As his demonstration, Officer Garstka fingerprinted each child and gave them a card with their prints on it to take home as a souvenir.

“It’s great Officer Garstka could be here all week. It’s like CSI Hilltop here. A great bonus of him being here doing fingerprints is that he is able to interact with each kid from kindergarten through fourth grade and interact with them face to face,” said Wilkeson.

The students were sent home with a summary of their STEM Day experiences, and were encouraged to share what they had learned with everyone at home.

“It’s very interesting to see all the different favorite stations the students have. One student thinks one station is cooler than another and another students thinks a different station is the most interesting. It goes to show the range of interests the students have and I am happy STEM Week gives them a chance to explore science, technology, engineering and math,” Wilkeson said.

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