By Karen Stokes
More than 600 students from 54 MPS schools displayed their science and engineering expertise on Thursday at the 16th annual MPS STEM Fair at the Wisconsin Center.
The Fair empowers the next generation of STEM professionals by encouraging an enthusiasm for science and technology.
Students ranging from K-4 through 12th grade, explored authentic and innovative science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) projects and shared with attendees and judges.
“The younger kids are doing true science fair experiments, they have a hypothesis, they do a procedure, do the experiment, they collect data. Some of the older kids are able to do different types of projects, they come up with building things and there’s a research category where they gather data,” said Kelly Rickman Bosh from the MPS Foundation.
With more students and schools participating than ever before, this will be the largest district-wide MPS STEM Fair since its inception in 2007.
“I’m interested in engineering and the technology side of it all. Technology is my strong suit. I love programming, I’ve been doing it since I was four or five. I would always be up for a NASA internship,” said Henry Martin, 7th grader from Golda Meir.
Martin’s project Kinected allows people that are non-verbal to use ambient intelligence or smart home devices using hand gestures instead of voice commands.
Projects are divided into three categories: Science Inquiry (answering a question), Engineering Design (solving a problem), and Research Study (high school only).
The projects ranged from Tiny House Design, Garden Revitalization and an Unbreakable light bulb. In all of these projects the students were persistent and through trial and error, solutions were found.
Andrew Wellinghoff, one of the science instructional coaches from MPS said, “Every year we put on a district STEM Fair and we coordinate with teachers. Our students have a lot of curiosity and as educators we just need to give them outlets and opportunities to build upon that creativity and develop their critical thinking skills.”
The event was made possible by the MPS Foundation and GE HealthCare.