STEM Week Activities
To celebrate STEM week this year, Mass Academy students taught interactive STEM lessons at two schools in the Worcester community: the Nativity School on October 17th and Tatnuck Magnet School on October 24th. In the weeks leading up to the lessons, teams of juniors and seniors worked hard readying their material.
MAMS students prepared unique and engaging lessons for each class. One lesson introduced programming through a cup-stacking game. The MAMS students that lead this programming workshop dedicated several hours outside of class to practice the lesson and organize materials.
While planning these activities, the MAMS juniors and seniors focused on creating activities they believed the students would enjoy.
“Hopefully [the lessons] will be fun for both us and the kids,” said junior Omar El Nesr.
The children and MAMS students all had fun completing activities. The children became teams of programmers, coding detailed instructions in the form of arrows that would then guide the robot (one of their friends) to stack the cups in a predetermined formation.
“It [planning the activities] was a hard struggle but in the end it was all worth it,” said junior Charles Tang.
Another lesson used windmills to model concepts such as forces, motion, and energy. To prepare, our students put together over a dozen sets of windmill-making materials for the children to work with.
During the lesson, MAMS students challenged their groups to lift cups containing washers with only a fan and a windmill. The catch was that the children had to construct the windmill blades themselves. Everyone rose to the challenge, and, when the fans were turned on, MAMS students were blown away (pun intended) by each group’s skillful engineering.
“Although not every group created a functioning windmill, it was fun to see how much they engaged and really worked through the problem as a team,” said junior Amy Chen.
Another activity involved solving a mirror maze utilizing the law of reflection. Nativity and Tatnuck Magnet students were faced with obstacles blocking a flashlight beam from the target at the end of the maze. Teams worked together to guide the beam around obstacles using mirrors and aluminum foil, coming up with incredibly creative solutions.
The final lesson introduced the different forms of energy through designing and building marble runs. MAMS students leading the marble run definitely had a lot of preparation to do prior to their STEM lesson. They could often be found cutting out the materials during breaks and after school.
It was no easy task for the children at Nativity and Tatnuck Magnet School to transform the flat templates they were given into miniature roller coasters; but, they persevered to create runs any marble would love to roll down.
“I think more people should try those lessons.You’ll be surprised how much creativity and insight [the students] have,” said junior Thomas Park.
Junior Staff Writer