St. Mary Students Participate in STEM Day ~ By Maggie Kent
On December 9, 2011, the sixth and seventh grade students at St. Mary School were challenged to provide a practical solution for an engineering dilemma. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Challenge asked the students to, “Build a ferry that will deliver your goods to or beyond a destination point over a wire bridge using only wind power.” Using materials (i.e., popsicle sticks, Styrofoam, tissue paper, balloons, batteries) donated by the teachers, parents, and STEM program, students worked in groups to make an air mechanism that would move the ferry smoothly along its bridge. Many first try “Ferry Crossings” ended in tipped over boats and some didn’t move along at all. By weighting the ferries differently or adding sails or propellers, the students eventually worked out the challenges and found their ferry successful at the end of the day.
STEM Education projects such as these encourage students by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage in a situation in order to find its solution (find out more at www.nsf.gov.) The St. Mary School seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Conover, and Technology Coordinator, Miss Ulacco , presented this project to the students after they, too, had spent a day experiencing this challenge.
“The Diocese of Bridgeport had STEM teachers come together and work on this project so that we could go back to our schools and challenge our students to creatively work together. It took us six hours of hands on work ourselves to complete the task, “ says Miss Ulacco. Integrating these subjects into one fun day of group project allows each student the opportunity to shine. “It was interesting to see students who might be quiet in the classroom thrive during this experiment.”
Visit www.stmarybethelct.org to see a video of the STEM day in action as well as find out more information about St. Mary School.
Director of Enrollment
St. Mary School,