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Lessons STEM from hands-on activities

November 21, 2013
By Melissa Moliterno , Town Crier correspondent

Hilltop Elementary students in grades kindergarten through fourth each had a day to find out more about science, technology, engineering and math by participating in seven hands-on stations. On Friday, Nov. 15, the fourth-graders had their turn to find out what the excitement was all about.

David Wilkenson, a Hilltop parent, was this year's STEM chairperson. He said the theme for this year was "Technology Playback" and was related to music. Students experienced this station by learning about how music has been played over the generations. Focusing on technology - from an old record player to the modern MP3 player - students got close up look at how music has evolved.

"Not that sports aren't important because they are, but STEM is what puts money on the table. The whole goal is if they [the students] can leave here interested in some aspect of STEM, we have accomplished what we are here for," said Wilkenson.

Article Photos

Photos by Melissa Moliterno, Town Crier correspondent
Paige Keller, 9, examines the lines on her finger through a microscope during Hilltop Elementary STEM Day. While she enjoyed the microscope, she said that her favorite part of the day was making the slime because of the way it felt.

The STEM program was funded completely by the PTO, parents and local businesses. Students also enjoyed other stations like a life-sized Battleship board that taught students about mathematical graphing, a microscope to look at various objects, and mock frozen yogurt bowls for measuring to figure out how much money they would spend. This year, a new station put the students' engineering skills to the test. They were asked to build a structure that would withstand a shot from a giant catapult. Deon Vrabel, who was the fourth-grade STEM chairperson this year, said the reason the program works so well is because it gets kids involved.

"They get to learn it a different way," he said. "Not with a textbook, but by doing it themselves, hands on."

Ryan Petro, 9, said, "Battleship was my favorite and my second favorite was looking in the microscope and how the stuff looked different."



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