By AMY ARMOUR
Sts. Joachim & Ann School brought science to life last month when it held a STEM Activity Night – complete with creepy, crawly bugs and homemade rockets.
“I hope the kids learned that science can be fun and interactive,” Amanda Goughenour, fifth grade science teacher, said. “Students can find interest in bugs crawling under our feet and look all the way up to
the sky as they see the newest technology of rockets fly through the air.”
About 140 people attended the event that included an active presentation by Ameren Missouri on how energy is delivered safely and reliably to serve and supportits customers and communities. Ameren taught students how electricity flows through power lines and touched on safety tips if they see downed wires due to storms.
“The Ameren Missouri hands-on demonstration was a helpful resource to the fifth grade curriculum because we are discussing flow of electricity and our next unit will cover how severe weather forms,”
Boeing had families build air-powered rockets using everyday materials. Families loaded the rockets on stands then stomped on jugs, which released air and created strong pressure behind the rockets that flew through the gymnasium.
“Our youngest enjoyed the Boeing exhibit the most. It was a great experience to be able to make a rocket together and watch the excitement as families try to launch it into a target,” Megan Gilfoil said. “He wanted to do it over and over again.” She has three children at Sts. Joachim & Ann School.
Gilfoil’s daughters enjoyed the MySci Investigation Station, sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis. The trailer had three categories: a cave for students to crawl through, bugs to crawl on students and learn about animals, and a station dedicated to climate and our environment.
“I couldn’t believe my girls were OK with the bug exhibit,” Gilfoil said. “There were creepy crawlers with lots of legs on many of the teachers and kids, and even Principal Mrs. Pecher.”
Sts. Joachim and Ann School uses STEM in much of its curriculum. “If students are reading a story about a character who is facing a problem, then students can engineer a tool to help them solve the problem,” Goughenour said. “In social studies, students learn about ancient Egypt and then will create a waterway to move water from the mile to their villages. In math, we are learning about probability. Students can use their personal laptops to create a computer- generated chart to show data they have collected and analyze their results of outcomes.”
Younger grades at Sts. Joachim and Ann School went to the pumpkin patch last fall, so to engage and prepare the students, teachers had them engineer a way to transport their pumpkins out of the patch.
“We have also purchased Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots for our sixth-eighth grade Encore classes,” Goughenour said. “In these courses, students program robots to complete tasks. We also have an afterschool program for fourth-fifth grades. During the fall semester, they engineered kites, catapults, weather tools and cargoholding planes. In the spring semester, we used the Lego EV3s to learn how to program using block coding to solve problems and move through a maze.”
Goughenour said by hosting events like STEM night, students can learn more about their interests and find a way to apply them to any future STEM-related career.
“We also wanted this to be a night focused on family, where they are able to create and communicate in a healthy way. Hopefully, families were able to work together and build on family bonds,” Goughenour said.
“Our whole family had a great time,” Gilfoil said. “The presenter at each station was friendly, knowledgeable and engaging with our children. Our children range from five to 12 and there was something there that all of them enjoyed doing. I would love to see more of these activities brightening our children’s minds through hands-on learning.”