Persell Students Participate In STEM Wars At JCC
Robots. Roller coaster challenges. CO2 cars.
All of the exciting possibilities available through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education were on display at the annual STEM Wars, hosted by Dream It Do It Western New York on March 16 at SUNY Jamestown Community College’s Physical Education Complex.
Among the hundreds of students gathered from across the region, Persell Middle School students had a firsthand opportunity to learn and have fun all at the same time.
Select students from Tim Whitacre’s technology classes at Persell had the chance to put their carbon dioxide dragsters to the test.
“We had the chance to bring seventh grade students who had made quality CO2 cars during our CO2 car project to STEM Wars,” he said. “We focus on hands-on activities all the time in tech class and CO2 cars are a favorite because students design a car from start to finish and can race against others in the class. This gave them the chance to race against others across the region.”
Mary Maggio and Lina Scoma brought seventh and eighth grade science students to the event to participate in the roller coaster challenge.
“Students were given pool noodles, plastic cups, paper towel rolls, tape, and a marble and given points for loops in their roller coaster and breaks in their track,” Maggio said. “The students really enjoy hands-on activities like these, which make learning relevant to their everyday lives. It also required them to work together to solve a problem and create a solution.”
“Hands-on experiences such as those offered at STEM wars allow students to see how to ‘do’ science,” Scoma said. “It gives students the chance to develop skills in communicating and working with others, engineering, and problem solving.”
The event also gave students the chance to see and hear from businesses and manufacturers from all over the county including the Board of Public Utilities, The Resource Center, and others.
“The businesses from the community being there was a fantastic way for kids to see what is in their community for them to strive for,” Maggio said. “So many students do not know that we have successful businesses in our area that hire thousands of employees.”
“Students were able to see how STEM relates to the workforce which gives them real life exposure,” Whitacre said. “It was great to see the students learn about careers and participating in events that we spent a great deal of time preparing for.”
Added Scoma, “Experiences such as STEM wars are critical to student growth and significantly assist our students in developing confidence, essential communication and team building skills as well as providing exposure to the real world.”