PIQUA — Sixth graders at Piqua Central Intermediate got out of the normal school day routine on Thursday and into some fun, learning about science, technology, engineering, and math through the STEM Academy, or also known as STEM Day.
The students participated in four different STEM-related activities, each station led by Ohio Northern University and Getty College of Arts and Sciences engineering students. Each station included electrical engineering experiments using a computer-simulated mobile electrical-engineering laboratory, building life vests from everyday materials to study buoyancy, a project-management and communication skills exercise, and “Logic Gates” that involve dominoes to demonstrate the decision-making logic of digital computers.
The day began with a presentation by Brett Humphreys, a practicing engineer for Google, and highlighted the relationship of STEM education and the engineering workplace. Humphreys works at the Boulder, Colo. campus of Google.
The program was made possible by not only the college students, but sixth grade teacher Sarah Jane Magoteaux, who applied for a $750 grant to supply the STEM Day activities. The grant was received from the Piqua Teen Leadership program. STEM Day has been ongoing for the past four years.
“(STEM Day) is a reminder of what we are working toward (with students),” Magoteaux said. She also mentioned how it has been an easier year having three schools merged into one building.
“(Building) really has enhanced (STEM Day) for the kids’ experience,” she said. “The building was meant for collaboration … it’s been really awesome for that.”
One former Piqua High School student has seen the process and impact of STEM Day from the very beginning. Jordan Taylor was a Piqua Teen Leader and interviewed Magoteaux for the grant and now is a freshman at ONU and participates in STEM Day.
“It’s sort of a tough process, because when you have so much money to give out, but the STEM program, it was a unanimous vote to fund the STEM program,” Taylor said.
Taylor first heard of the STEM program in his junior year at PHS from a teacher who was looking for volunteers to help set up at the different schools. His senior year, he joined Piqua Teen Leadership and it was then he interviewed Magoteaux for the grant.
“When I got to ONU, it was just like the icing on the cake with the STEM program, because it’s another thing that I can get involved in (with the program),” he said.
Taylor expressed how it felt to be back at his alma mater.
“It’s different because of the new school. I’m not used to seeing the wide variety of grades here. It’s been a great experience; I don’t even know what else to compare it to because it’s been so great,” he said.
Sixth grader Neil Bayman expressed what he enjoyed about the day.
“We made a life jacket for a can of soup for a minute to see if it would float. That was my favorite. It was really fun,” he said.
And what did Bayman learn?
“Don’t be independent, work with your team in your group and when you’re an engineer, you make a lot of money,” he said.
Bayman would participate in the program again if he could, he said.
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.