Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 15, 2014
From electricity to molecular weight
STREAM Night highlights student learning
Patrick Shepard, a fish policy associate with Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington, Maine explains some of the features of a young lobster to fifth grader Drew Wendell at the annual STREAM Night at Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School held in May 2014. STREAM Night celebrates students’ interests in academic areas that focus on science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math.
by Rich Hewitt
Students at the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School displayed some of what they’ve learned this year during their STREAM Night presentation held May 7.
The school was a beehive of activity with word games in the library, watercolor painting in the art room, and ice cream making down the hall. In the corridor, youngsters created aluminum foil sailboats and tried their hand at sailing them through a small maze.
In the gym, there were a wide variety of presentations, some from area residents and organizations, others prepared by the students themselves. All of the students in the school worked on the displays that surrounded the gym, according to Mickie Flores, the middle school science teacher. But it was the older students who organized the active displays that brought the science lab to life.
“They’ve picked some of their favorite lab experiments from this year, that show the applications of science and math problem-solving in everyday life,” Flores said.
The student presentations ranged from testing pH levels of various items using cabbage juice, demonstrating how gases and liquids expand when heated, showing how electricity works, and testing the strength of large molecule plastic bags by filling them with water and then sticking wooden skewers through the bag until it breaks. At one point, the students had 76 skewers through a bag before it broke.
STREAM Night is an expansion of last year’s STEM night which was a showcase of student work in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year they added art and reading to the evening event.
“The visual and performing arts can provide another way for students to understand a concept and to express what they know,” Flores said.
Flores added that the school’s literacy committee was searching for a time to schedule its annual literacy fair, and the addition of reading to the expanded STEM night helped to round out the evening curriculum and to transform STEM into STREAM.
The evening began with a picnic style family dinner and ended with a raffle drawing.