NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Upwards of 100 second-graders and their parents came together in the Columbus Elementary School cafeteria recently for an evening of STEM learning focused on problem-solving and family fun! Teachers from the school’s second grade team – Antoinette Koehler, Kelly Kalinowski, Rana Rabadi, Vanessa Guzman-Cruz and Fran DelFico – prepared an overview of what STEM is and created three separate challenges for the family teams.
“STEM is hands-on problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and innovation,” said Koehler as she introduced the work. “This is about collaboration and building resilience and persistence in the face of frustration or failure.”
She reminded everyone that STEM investigations are at the heart of every STR2EAMing into Learning Convention at Columbus. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Reading/Research, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
The three STEM challenges included: engineering paper airplanes and submitting them to grueling flight tests; building the tallest structure possible using only a limited number of index cards; designing stable, solid structures using just marshmallows and toothpicks.
Soaring paper airplanes? Towering towers? And, marshmallows? Absolutely!
“STEM is just a ton of fun!” Koehler added.
District Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey and Columbus Principal Michael Galland joined the STEM fun, with Dr. Parvey rolling up her sleeves to assist many of the families with their projects.
“This was a wonderful night in so many ways,” said Dr. Parvey. “It was wonderful to see our families enjoying such a good time together, and there was a palpable sense of wonder and exploration filling the room that really let me know our STEM program is making great things happen!”
Columbus Elementary School will host its STR2EAMing into Learning Convention this winter. It will take place over three days and two evenings, January 22 to 24. The Columbus PTA will also be holding a STEM-oriented book sale during the convention.