By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — The dreams of being a scientist or an astronaut were alive and kicking on Friday at Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School.
Second-, third- and fourth-grade students at Reverend Brown got a taste into what these careers are like after the school hosted a STEM DAY with Bayer in its gymnasium.
“It was cool,” Reverend Brown fourth-grade student Jack Gallucci said. “We got to do things that real scientists make.”
“I thought it was really fun,” Reverend Brown third-grade student Nora Marino said. “I always like trying out things and that is what scientists do all the time.”
The STEM Day, a day in which students can learn projects involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics, came to fruition after Shannon Gunther, a Reverend Brown parent who works for Bayer as a member of its marketing operations, brought up the idea of presenting the company’s STEM program to Reverend Brown Principal Mrs. Patricia Klebez. Mrs. Klebez said she was “on board” with the idea because it ties into Reverend Brown’s mission as far as what it wants to provide its students.
“We offer hands-on experiences and project-based assessments all the time, but when you can get the students out there, have them learn with an employee from a company like Bayer and see what they are doing for that company, it’s great,” Klebez said. “We want to give these kids that real-world experience and we are fortunate to have such wonderful parents who want to bring this to our school.”
On Friday, Gunther held three one-hour sessions with each grade and performed three projects with each class.
The second-grade students learned how to make slim, “Elephant Toothpaste” using yeast and hydrogen peroxide, and Alka Seltzer rockets. The third- and fourth-students learned how to make a lava lamp with oil, water and colored paint, “Elephant Toothpaste” and Alka Seltzer rockets.
Within these projects, they learned about density, chemical reactions, elements and the scientific method in a fun way.
“I think the kids had a great time,” Gunther said. “Hopefully they took away that science, engineering, technology and math are a part of their everyday lives. Whether it is working with water and oil or launching rockets, it’s always there.”
Marino, Gallucci and fourth-grade student Nikolas Raftopoulos enjoyed the STEM Day with Bayer.
Marino and Gallucci loved conducting all the experiments and trying to make educated hypotheses just like scientists.
“It’s cool to see what worked and what didn’t,” Marino said. “Like with the rockets, I didn’t know the Alka Seltzer would react that way with the water to make it pop. It was fun.”
“I learned a lot about how these experiments actually work,” Gallucci said. “You can make many things happen as a scientist.”
Raftopoulos really liked the Alka Seltzer rocket experiment because it showed him what astronauts learn and that the dream of being one is possible.
“It was awesome,” Raftopoulos said. “You don’t really learn how to make a rocket go or how to fly one unless you are an astronaut. I know a lot of kids who want to do that, and they want to look up to their dreams and say, ‘Wow! I want to do that!’ It’s definitely fun for us kids.”