Hilltop Elementary students enjoy STEM Week


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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Hilltop Elementary School second-grade students experimented with engineering by playing a giant Jenga game during the school’s STEM Week on Nov. 18.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Hilltop Elementary School second-grade students used their engineering skills to see how high they could stack plastic cups during the school’s STEM Week Nov. 18. This group of students was able to build a tower 80 1/2 inches high.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Volunteer Bill Stilson showed Hilltop Elementary School second-graders a scientific experiment on how to make a cloud in a plastic bottle during the school’s STEM Week Nov. 18.

By ABBY SLANKER

neighbors@vindy.com

Students at Hilltop Elementary School participated in STEM Week at the school Nov. 16-20. 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 and age appropriate. The activities were also tied into each grade level’s curriculum.

“The teachers give their input and we get lots of great feedback from them. We take what they tell us and make any changes or improvements the next year,” said Dave Wilkeson, STEM Week coordinator.

Each class had one hour to themselves in the gym to explore each of the activities. PTO parent volunteers supervised the activities and served as grade-level chairs, with approximately 120 volunteers helping throughout the week.

“We really appreciate the fact that we have so many parent volunteers to help us this week,” said Wilkeson.

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.

In science, second-grade students were able to experiment with lift and air pressure by trying to lift a card table by blowing air into a plastic bag to raise it. Also in science, students were shown an experiment on how to make a cloud in a plastic bottle.

In engineering, they played a giant Jenga game that involved stacking plastic cups and in math, the students completed tangram puzzles and used math to play a fun game with giant playing cards.

This year, the technology station was the same for all students, with a focus on medical technology. Students were able to try their hand at a laparoscopic surgery simulator.

“All our STEM activities are hands on, except one experiment. I think that is crucial in helping the students learn and have fun doing it. It’s all experiential. The students are actually conducting the experiments and that’s the best way for them to discover if they are interested in a certain field,” Wilkeson said.

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.

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