Bush Students Take Part In STEM Wars At Ice Arena
If you ask longtime Bush Elementary School teacher Tari Geisler what she loves teaching the most, chances are she won’t hesitate in her response.
“Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics,” said Geisler. “That’s what I live for. It’s what I’m all about because it’s all hands on.”
So, when the opportunity arose to bring a group of 20 Bush third and fourth graders to an elementary STEM Wars event, hosted by Southwestern Elementary School, Geisler signed up as soon as possible.
“This year was a test for us to see if our students would like it,” Geisler said. “I absolutely loved it. The kids absolutely loved it. We’re so grateful to Southwestern and all those who organized this.”
Bush students were among the youngest in attendance at the event at Northwest Arena on March 28, which included students from Southwestern, Falconer, Frewsburg, Chautauqua Lake, Brocton, Westfield, Bemus Point, and Panama.
Third grade students who participated were: Josh Bang Depane, Corbin Powell, Jackson Newman, Alice Jones, Liam Brunco, Gracelynn Wolf, Kienna Gardiner, Naomi Hogg, and Ellisai Ryan. Fourth graders who participated were: Jack Nelson, Sebastian Gibbs, Josiah Perez, Avery Mason, Rylee Cronin, Nias Rivera, Lily Marks, Armani Hunk, Alex Martir, and Owen Cook.
The students participated in the marble run, catapult, robotics, and hack-a-thon competitions.
“Most of the events involved four people and that was amazing because third graders and fourth graders worked together,” Geisler said, an important skill for students in these grade levels.
“The first team event went well, but it was about teamwork,” she noted. “The second event, the team learned that they had to ‘team’ better. They talked amongst themselves to work on making it better and they got second place. The third event, they got first place. That showed that improvement along the way.”
In all, Bush students placed in seven-of-nine events, collecting three second-place ribbons in the catapult; second and third place ribbons in robotics; and first and second place ribbons in the marble run.
“My favorite part of the day was when I got to do the robotics because I got to program how fast and how slow and where it went,” said fourth grader Alex Martir.
Another highlight was the hack-a-hon — an event focused on preventing cyber bullying. Martir as well as fourth grader Nias Rivera and third graders Jackson Newman and Joshua DePane worked on a presentation throughout the morning at the event that they had the chance to present later on.
“It’s not good to do cyber bullying, so if you can learn about it, you can help prevent it,” said fourth grader Nias Rivera.
“We did this little slideshow about it. It’s really important to learn about,” said Newman.
“The most important thing I wrote on the poster was to not give your home address or number,” Martir noted. “If they have your home address or number, they can easily track you down or do something bad.”
“If you get cyberbullied, the best choice is to either ignore it or take a screenshot and send it to the police,” said DePane.
Geisler, meanwhile, couldn’t hold back her pride with the way each student embraced their participation in the event.
“It was a great way to show that the kids’ attitudes and the way they maintained their behaviors throughout the event was really a spotlight for me,” she said. “Really, they had such manners.”
And with regard to the educational value?
“I can’t say enough about the day because I think this is the way kids should learn,” she said. “I think they should learn by cooperating and hands-on activities. You can see it gives them that motivation for learning. And you could see that at STEM Wars all day long.”
“It was an amazing day,” she concluded. “I would do it again every day.”