BES STEM Fair wows students, parents, teachers alike

BURNEY — More than 115 students, parents, and teachers, came together for Burney Elementary’s second annual family STEM Fair, last night, Tuesday, March 27.

The STEM Fair featured numerous interactive and hands-on STEM-based displays and experiments; including the opportunity for attendees to see how crystals are formed, to see how hot air balloons work, and how to create enough energy to recharge a smart phone or other similar electronic device. Students and parents alike also had the chance to interact with and control a variety of robots designed, programmed, and built by students; including a slithering snake, crawling scorpion, ferocious dinosaur, and even a lumbering elephant.


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STEM is a curriculum based on educating students in four specific and vitally essential areas of study – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. The overall aim of STEM based teaching is to create excitement in those areas of study and increase the supply of qualified high-tech workers in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM-based career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and un-associated subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications, while educating students about STEM career paths and opportunities.

“STEM Fairs and similar events give students an opportunity to show what they are learning at school, while allowing students to share their excitement with others,” BES second grade teacher Joy Ford later enthusiastically told SCNS. “They also give families and schools an opportunity to connect and to celebrate students and learning.”

“A lot of kids put a lot of time and effort into their projects and the adults in their lives supported them in it,” Ford continued. “Hopefully it will inspire more students to participate next year.”

Open to BES students of all ages and grade levels, this was the second STEM-based science night at the school and the event was organized by retired first grade teacher Theresa Robbins through her consultancy.

Much of BES’s STEM learning and curriculum happens during the school’s “Project SHARE” after school program, which serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program offers a wide variety of daily activities; such as homework assistance, hands-on activities, applied robotics, art, and sports. Each year, the school’s Project SHARE students participate in the annual STEM showcase featured at the Mt. Shasta Mall.

“Children learn much more quickly when the content is presented ‘hands on’ or as ‘play’,” BES Prinicipal, Marcy Schmidt later told SCNS, saying with continued support and excitement from students and parents, she hoped school’s STEM and Project SHARE programs would continue growing at the school in future years.

For more information about Burney Elementary’s STEM Lab and Project SHARE programs visit BES online or on Facebook. BES parents are also encouraged to join the school’s PTA or follow the PTA’s activities and announcements on Facebook.

Emily Aubuchon shows off a water table she designed, which was built in the campus’s STEM Lab by the school’s sixth graders. Joy Ford photo

Blayk Cossairt demonstrates his bicycle phone charger, which he built out of spare parts and was a hit during last night’s STEM Fair. Joy Ford photo and video

Third grade Teacher Chrissy Roeschlau shows Madison Bower how sugar crystals grow. Joy Ford photo

Kindergarten teacher Amber Urlie watches as students experiment with wood and water. Joy Ford photo

Sixth grade student Ariana Johnston demonstrates how hot air balloons work with her own design. Joy Ford video

Stephanie Rosemeyer showcases robots designed, built, and programmed, by students who attend the school’s Project SHARE after school program. Joy Ford photo

Twins Hannah and Morgan Peckham were among other enthusiastic students seen testing out the robots, including this crowd favorite – a slithering snake, designed and built by students involved in the school’s Project SHARE after school program. Joy Ford video

A robotic scorpion crawls its away across the floor during last night’s STEM Fair. Joy Ford video

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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