TIMBERVILLE — Student attendance was through the roof on Friday, joked Plains Elementary School Principal J. Kapuchuck.
Excitement was in the air as third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students participated in the school’s first-ever STEM Day, with a theme of “Around the World.” The school has hosted a STEM event in the evening once a year, but this was the first time a daylong event had been held.
Kapuchuck said the idea was to have an event that all third-, fourth- and fifth-graders could take part in, which wasn’t necessarily the case when the event was in the evening.
“Sometimes you had a sibling with a baseball game,” Kapuchuck said.
Not everyone could make it.
The event was thanks to a grant from Rockingham Education Foundation, Inc. that third-grade teacher Wes Smith applied for and was given. Along with a team, he wanted to come up with a theme for the STEM Day event.
“We thought it would be more fun,” Smith said.
Between the three grades there are nine classes, so Smith wanted to come up with a theme that would work with the number nine. The idea being that students would spend 30 minutes in each classroom.
Smith and his team decided on a theme of “Around the World.” Students learn about the different continents in third grade, therefore every student participating in STEM Day would be familiar with the seven continents. So each classroom represented one of the continents, with classrooms eight and nine dedicated to modes of travel — docks and airports.
Teachers combined the typical STEM activities with the classroom’s world theme to create fun and educational rotations for students.
Activities included building boats for docks, folding and flying planes with Dynamic Aviation for airports, measuring animals for Africa, a breakout challenge for North America, water cycle experiment for South America, building monuments from Keva planks for Europe, using Spheros in Antarctica, a math activity on tablets for Asia and an experiment with coral reef bleaching for Australia.
For each classroom and completed activity, students got a stamp in their passports to take home.
Third-grade teacher Holly Balice said students have been excited for the STEM Day all week.
“They keep saying ‘where are we going next?’” Ballice said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”