Around the UFT

Super Saturday! Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo: Lizards, robotics and budding scientists

nyt20100616_46d.jpgTaking science out of the classroom and into the world, research teacher Mauricio Gonzalez (center, in cap) of Frederick Douglass Academy often brings his class to the Harlem River for water testing and catching phytoplankton to study. His budding marine biologists are shown here with their research on display.

Nearly 800 Harlem students, along with their parents and teachers, turned out for the “Super Saturday! Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo” on May 22 at the Harlem Armory.

“This is a new event, created to put an emphasis on the rigor coming out of this district,” said Dwayne Clark, the UFT District 5 representative.

The goal, he said, is to increase the academic standards expected of District 5’s 13,000 students in 31 public schools beyond what the state requires to meet the higher national standards.

Students shared their own work and learned from projects on display such as “Life in a Puddle” from BioBus, a state-of-the-art microscopic laboratory on wheels; “Lasers, Lenses and Light” courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History; and “The Physics of Hula-Hooping,” from the Morningside Area Alliance, along with many other displays.

Middle and high school students from Frederick Douglass Academy exhibited the robots they built and programmed, and invited attendees to take part in an on-site robotics competition.

While the United States lags behind other countries in the sciences, the hands-on, interactive experiments and demos from Super Saturday! are geared to pique students’ interest in these fields early, beginning with pre-K, and demonstrate the full range of topics, skills and learning that encompass what educators call the STEM subjects — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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