Neighbors | Abby Slanker.A Hilltop Elementary School third-grade student solved a puzzle using the Osmo app on an iPad at the technology station during the school’s annual STEM Week on March 8.
Neighbors | Abby Slanker.A group of Hilltop Elementary School third-grade students waited to see if a ball launched from a catapult would knock down the structure they had built at an engineering station during the school’s annual STEM Week on March 8.
Neighbors | Abby Slanker.A group of Hilltop Elementary School third-grade students prepared to launch items at a structure built by their classmates at an engineering station during the school’s annual STEM Week.
Neighbors | Abby Slanker.At a science station, Hilltop Elementary School third-grader measured materials to create instant snow during the school’s annual STEM Week on March 8.
By ABBY SLANKER
Students at Hilltop Elementary School participated in STEM Week at the school March 5-9. STEM Week, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, was created by a group of Hilltop parents and has been improved upon and evolved each year.
Each grade had its own designated STEM day with activities which were grade level/age appropriate. The activities were also tied into each grade level’s curriculum.
“The STEM activities are adjusted to the grade levels. As the grade levels go up, the activities become more complex. We also correlate the activities to what the students are learning in class and we coordinate with their lesson plans,” said Melanie Gaffney, third grade STEM chair.
Each class had one hour in the gym to explore each of the hands-on activities. PTO parent volunteers supervised the activities and served as grade-level chairs. Kelly Volovar served as STEM chair.
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, spending approximately eight minutes at each station.
For the third-graders, there were two engineering stations. At the first station, students were asked to build a structure with blocks and several items which could withstand balls and other items shot from a catapult at the other engineering station.
At the science stations, students were taught about sublimation and chemical reaction using dry ice and they then experienced instant snow, helping to measure and weight the materials. Students could also hypothesize about what would happen when water was added to the instant snow material.
For the math stations, students played a giant game of Minecraft, solving problems and using graphing skills and also played a game of War using oversized multiplication flash cards, using their fast math skills.
The technology station was the same for all students, which used the app Osmo on iPads on which students could digitally play education games and solve problems. The complexity of the puzzles and games were adjusted for each grade level.
A Look and See table was set up in the middle of the gym for students to explore several items related to science, technology, engineering and math, including fossils, rocks, magnets and kaleidoscopes.