For the second year in a row, Mount Alvernia Academy’s fourth and fifth-graders have won the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project’s Massachusetts Elementary School of the year for the STEM Fun Fair! This year, their efforts have also earned them the honor of being named a National Elementary School Finalist.
The STEM Fun Fair, created by MAA science teacher, Mrs. Maria Lyons, is comprised of in-class lessons, research, and hands-on experiments. Through their research, students gained a working knowledge of topics including Physics (energy, matter, and motion), Biology (animal, plants, fungus and environmental, earth science), Solar System, Weather, and Global Climate Change.
Working in teams, students learned how to conduct experiments using the Scientific Method. They used materials provided by the NEED Project using solar panels and more. For example, students used solar panels to power a fan and observed how adjusting the placement of the panels in reference to the sun altered the speed of the fan.
Students enjoyed developing the experiments to test their hypotheses. One group of students was tasked with making a rainbow by filling a bowl with water and placing a mirror in the water facing the sun. They put a piece of white paper above the bowl and waited until the rainbow projected onto the paper. Their hypothesis was that “the mirror in the water will refract the sun, which then will refract in the water and make a rainbow on the paper.” And they were correct!
For a student who was on the engineering team, testing the strength of different shapes was eye-opening. “I was on the engineering team and I liked the activities. I learned that some shapes, such as circles, are stronger than others”. Students also explored the world of photosynthesis by growing their own plants and investigated melting ice and sea-level rise.
MAA’s students really enjoyed the hands-on activities that they participated in at school, and some were able to continue their work at home. We are so proud of our students for all of their hard work and their curiosity.