BLUE RIDGE, GA – West Fannin Elementary School (WFES) hosted STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) night on Thursday, September 21. It is one of three STEM nights that the school will host this year.
Students in Kindergarten and Fifth grade, along with their families, enjoyed an evening dedicated to engineering and science. WFES will be combining grade levels this year for their STEM evenings. The remaining two nights will be dedicated to First and Third grade levels and then Second and Fourth.
Principal Lucas Roof credits the creation and success of the STEM program to former principal Robert Ensley and STEM teacher Kim Patterson. Roof states that Ensley pushed for STEM in the beginning, and Patterson confirms that, going into the fourth year, the program has grown.
Roof says that there are numerous benefits to the program. For example, “It shows students that mathematics is in our real world all around us.”
Patterson says there is a definite benefit to the science and math subjects since the program’s implementation. She states, “The children’s interest levels have really gone up in these areas.”
Along with STEM night, WFES integrates STEM projects into their regular school year. Patterson, with the help of grade level teachers, evaluate the current curriculum and base specialized projects on what is being taught in the classrooms.
The K and 5th STEM night showcased students and families working on three separate projects. There was a fun Autumn theme for each assignment.
Families were tasked with the “Spider Web Bridge”. Given two cups and yarn, families were asked to construct a bridge that would hold as many spiders (blocks) as possible. This was a creative assignment that not only focused on engineering but also gave students a lesson in mathematics.
The second assignment also focused on engineering by asking families to create a “Pumpkin Catapult”. Teachers scaled down the catapult experience by providing spoons, candy pumpkins, and various items needed to complete the task.
The last assignment, “Candy Tower”, asked participants to build a tower as tall as possible that stands on its own. Various candies, along with toothpicks, were given to create the towers. This particular exercise allowed students to see first hand the struggles faced in engineering, as they tried to figure out weight distribution and the most stable shapes to hold their towering candy masterpieces.
The success of the STEM program was evident in the smiles and laughs heard throughout the participants as they experienced a fun way to view the sciences.
Principal Roof is very proud of his staff and of the program itself stating, “We are hoping to become STEM certified by the state of Georgia this year.”