NEWINGTON - Rubber bands, Popsicle sticks and plastic spoons became catapults at Elizabeth Green School Monday night.
Parents joined their children for the school’s first-ever STEM Night, hosted by volunteers from the Connecticut STEM Academy and Central Connecticut State University.
A catapult was just one of many different contraptions families worked on, each manifesting the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“It’s very exciting for us because we’ve wanted to do something like this for a quite a while,” Principal James Marciano said. “Essentially we’re trying to develop kids’ problem-solving skills and interest in the sciences.”
Ana Sifuentes watched as her son Christopher, 9, created a free-standing tower with cotton balls, straws and the favorite elementary school building block: Popsicle sticks.
“I think it’s fantastic,” she said of the program. “The world is growing and changing so he should be involved in what’s going on. There is a different foundation for their generation.”
That’s exactly the kind of thinking that teachers with the CT STEM Academy say is important to have in this new era. The non-profit organization delivers hands-on programming to schools across the state and hosts summer and after-school activities. The program came to Elizabeth Green at the discount price of $375, thanks to a grant CT STEM received from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Marciano celebrated the occasion like genius physicist Albert Einstein, wearing a white lab coat and a big curly wig.
“I think in Newington we’re on the forefront of STEM,” he pointed out. “Our superintendent is a visionary and making sure our schools have these opportunities. The jobs are going to be in these areas as our students get older.”
CT STEM Academy Director Chris Stone walked around the gymnasium helping facilitate activities.
“We believe in children being able to create, do and make,” he said.
Elizabeth Tessitore said she and her son Jacob, 7, had previously participated in a technology workshop at the library and he loved it.
“There’s also some stuff for us as parents to learn tonight, so we can keep up with the kids,” Tessitore added.
Laura Kordik and her daughter Miranda Wziontko are frequent visitors to the CT Science Center in Hartford.
“This is a great learning experience for us,” Kordik said. “It’s fun for her to do something tonight with all of her friends from school.”
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or Schmitt@centralctcommunications.com.