Laurel Bay, S.C. -- Students at Charles F. Bolden Elementary-Middle School and Robert E. Galer Elementary School on Laurel Bay held their 2016 STEMposium, May 6.
STEMposium is the culmination of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, curriculum. The STEM program is designed to give students a basic understanding of the core subjects and encourage the pursuit of careers in those fields. Students in STEM learn how to apply these subjects in everyday life.
“Students began working on their STEM projects in March,” said Susan Schmidt, a STEM facilitator for Bolden. “All students worked hard while learning about problem solving, cooperation, time management, and accountability— all real- world skills needed for the 21st century.”
At Bolden, projects were assigned by grade from sixth-eigth. The sixth-graders focus on NASA engineering, seventh-graders on computer scratch animation and the eight-graders on robotics, according to Schmidt.
“Every student was assigned to a STEM team where they had to collaborate together to design and create an original product, a marketing plan, write a technical paper, and presented to an audience,” said Schmidt.
One project centered on creating a model moon buggy for scientific research in space. Students designed and created a vehicle to accomplish certain tasks like sliding down a ramp and stopping at a designated distance. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit participated in the event as evaluators at Bolden.
“It’s impressive to see how the students were able to create these computer games that implement consequences,” said Sgt. Stephen Gomez, an EOD technician and STEM evaluator for Bolden. “It blows my mind to see how much detail went into creating these games and the presentations.”
At Galer the STEMposium was conducted through demonstrations and hands on activities. Four stations were set around the school— a straw rocket, scavenger hunt, life cycle of the butterfly, and a robotics station manned by Marines from the air station.
“We’re here today showing the students our robots and equipment we use to do our job,” said Staff Sgt. David Mead, an EOD technician with the air station and STEM demonstrator for Galer. “STEM is applied in all aspects of our job, mathematics to calculate distances, technology like the robots, and science to understand explosives.”
Students rotated through the stations getting a different perspective of the STEM program on each. At the straw rocket stations angles needed to be calculated prior to launching the air-propelled rockets, while at the scavenger the children got a chance to see gardens and birdhouses while being lecture by a peer. The life cycle of the butterfly featured a visual presentation of the many species of butterflies followed by a hands-on arts and crafts activity related to the ecosystem.
“While overwhelming and challenging at times, the STEM experience, for both students and teachers, has been successful and rewarding,” said Schmidt.
According to the STEM mission statement, the program plays a vital role in educating the next generation of innovators and inventors. More information about STEM can be found at www stemedcoalition.org.