Friday, January 8, 2016

Middle schoolers present STEM work to school board - By Michelle Libby

What used to be known as middle school industrial arts has evolved in the last 10 years and although some of the lessons are based on the same principles, the students are jumping into the topics using technology and innovation.  

Windham Middle School seventh graders Kaila Mank, Logan Carper and Ashley Arnold presented the work they did during STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) class to the RSU14 School Board last month.

“They were impressed with what seventh graders can do,” said Mank.  

 In the Rube Goldberg unit, the class was asked to create something using three simple machines. “Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, author, engineering and inventor. He is best known for cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks,” said STEM teacher Jason Lanoie. 

The students who were in his first trimester class, built a machine that mixed elephant toothpaste creating a mixture containing hydrogen peroxide, soap, yeast, water and food coloring. The lesson learned was “don’t give up on the first time,” Mank said. They had to work through a few variations on their project.  

In addition to the Rube Goldberg projects, the students also showed off a 3-D printer that they used in their dream houses project, mostly to create objects to go inside the houses like tables, couches and TVs, Mank said.
“STEM has changed a lot in the past few years. I wanted to show them how we have evolved from IT (Industrial Technology) to STEM,” said Lanoie. “When I started teaching here 10 years ago never would I have imagined that I would be teaching lessons on 3D printing. Science and Technology has changed a lot in the past 10 years and will change even more in the next 10 years.”

Lanoie works in conjunction with teacher Joseph Boudreau.

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