Students, parents and teachers at Room Nine Community School, and others from around the district and even neighboring districts gathered at the school for the “Making Things Go” night at the school’s third annual Math and Engineering fair.
The event was a showcase for the school’s STEAM program, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), that is becoming the focus of the school’s non-traditional curriculum, led by program manager Trinh Pham.
Also, 22 students have signed up for the STEM program, the same acronym without Room Nine’s arts focus, which local districts are getting federal funding for as part of the Obama White House’s increased push for science and math education to promote competitiveness in technology and science fields.
The district hopes to have up to 30 students signed up, said Gene Wachtel, who oversees career and technical education for the district.
Nearly every room in the school had a hands-on demonstration set up by a teacher that involved making things go whether it is a car, boat or boat.
“The biggest deal is letting teachers come up with their ideas,” Wachtel said.
Teacher Michael Callahan said each demonstration fit into a category of Air, Fire, Water or Earth.
Logan Liteky, a 7-year-old first grader at Room Nine assembled a stock car as one of the projects.
“He’s so excited about this year,” said his mother, Jennifer Liteky.
John Paulsen and his daughters Kaitlyn, a fifth-grader, and Emily, a sixth-grader, at Ridgecrest Elementary watched a spinning waterwheel turn an electric motor as demonstration of kinetic energy.
Moka Trice, an 11 year-old fifth-grader at Room Nine, talked to Mark Antush, a technician in the University of Washington’s biology department and a hobbyist who works with internal combustion engines.
“There’s a lot of math and science going on to get these to work,” Antush said. “Chemistry, physics… engineering, metallurgy.”
Namoka Trice of Shoreline, Moka’s mother, started sending her daughter, to Room Nine specifically for the science and math emphasis since few women are still in those fields.
“With this early exposure, maybe she’ll be interested, if she goes to college,” she said.
Other demonstrations included air powered-rockets, carbon dioxide powered cars, paper gliders and paper sailboats racing down house gutters.
The STEAM Program uses a process called Design Maker, which attempts to teach academic concepts “at the most needed and appropriate times,” and aims to develop reading, math, technical writing, vocabulary and design skills.
“You have something good going on here,” said School Board President David Wilson, while watching the demonstrations.