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Hopkinton schools step up for STEAM Week

by | Oct 30, 2019 | Education

Hopkinton High School ninth-grader Isabella Theodorou checks out the technology that helps the Hopkinton Police Department keep the public safe during STEM Week in Massachusetts. PHOTO/MELISSA ORFF

The Hopkinton Public Schools went full STEAM ahead with a week of fun and educational science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics activities throughout the district.

Oct. 21-25 was officially STEM Week in Massachusetts, a statewide effort “to boost the interest, awareness and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education and employment opportunities, and complement the formal instruction happening in the Commonwealth beyond STEM week.”

Schools across the state took part in the STEM Week celebration by coordinating different events for students in order to promote STEM topics, and this year specifically, to promote underrepresented groups to become more familiar with STEM careers.

Hopkinton students at all grade levels had the chance to explore different areas of STEM — plus the added ‘A’ for art to make it STEAM — through different activities led by their teachers during the school day and during after school enrichment. Each of the five days took on different subject, kicking off Monday with science. Students in the elementary schools learned about constellations and discovered what would be needed to fry an egg on the sidewalk. At the high school, students learned about electrophoresis during lunch break and could stay after school to make virtual reality art.

Tuesday was for technology, and programs ran from coding at the elementary grades through a robotics scrimmage and a drone simulation at the high school.

The Hopkinton Police Department even got involved with STEAM week by demonstrating to the high school and middle schoolers all of the technology used by the department in order to provide public safety to the residents.

“This is probably the most used piece of equipment that we have,” said School Resource Officer Phil Powers, demonstrating the automatic defibrillator that sits in a police cruiser to use in case of heart failure. “With this and CPR there is a good chance you can save someone’s life.”

Wednesday brought engineering projects throughout the district, including young students “Helping Harry” by designing and building him a perch out of simple materials and testing the strength.

Art was abound on Thursday with creative projects that tied into other STEAM subjects including making kaleidoscopes, exploring texture by using chemical reaction of absorption, and even learning about the chemistry of glazes.

The week ended with fun math activities and games in order to promote a love of math and the related career paths the subject can bring one to.

Valerie Lechtanski, a retired Hopkinton High School teacher who has returned to the school this year as a STEAM consultant thanks to a grant the district received, said that exposing kids to STEAM fields is important in this day and age.

One of Lechtanski’s primary goals is to reach out to the community to foster relationships with businesses with the hope of providing externships and internships for high school students in order to expose them to STEM-related fields.

“There are a lot of opportunities in STEM careers here in Massachusetts,” she said.

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