Magothy River Middle School’s annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) night was the place to be on May 12 for a hands-on, family-friendly event for all ages. Twenty-four stations in the cafeteria and outside allowed participants to mine gemstones, create elephant toothpaste, create chromatography, do experiments, dissect owl pellets, learn how to code and use 3D printers, and so much more.
Christy McCallister, the school’s STEM department chair, said she began the event eight years ago when she joined Magothy Middle School. Since then, the event has continued to grow and gain more interest.
“What started as a school event has now become a whole peninsula event,” McCallister said. “Elementary school parents bring their children and ask to bring friends or neighbors.”
Sheri Berberian’s children had so much fun, she wasn’t sure she would get them home.
“The girls had a blast at STEM night,” she said about Sara, a fifth-grader, and Hannah, a second-grader, who both attend Broadneck Elementary School. “They made slime, and stomp and straw rockets. They learned about and held different animals, used coding robots, ate nitrogen ice cream, watched different experiments, and grew their love of science.”
Glen Burnie High School’s BioMedical Allied Health Club was in attendance, as was the Broadneck High School robotics club. James Beard, a member of the Broadneck High School robotics club, was demonstrating the team’s competition robot (built to shoot foams discs for points), a pet project (which lifted items) and clawbots (built to move objects).
“We are here to recruit eighth-graders coming into Broadneck High School but also to show off the cool skills you learn in robotics and some of the things you can create,” he said.
Seventh-grader Maddison Padotta and her partner, eighth-grader Maggie Spinks, built a giant floor-board Maryland trivia game. To advance, players must answer questions about Maryland and its inhabitants, rivers, geography and history.
“The goal of the game is for players to acquire a greater appreciation of Maryland and the people and creatures that live here,” Maddison said.
For those who like to fly, Drew Gish and his partner Eli Pereira, both seventh-graders, taught participants to build catapults out of craft sticks to shoot cotton balls at a target.
“I really like STEM because we share ideas, and hopefully, we can inspire the younger people to get involved in engineering or robotics in high school,” Drew said.
Drew plans to join the robotics club when he gets to Broadneck High School.
Representatives of the United States Naval Academy Sea Perch team showed participants how robotic submarines take a deep dive in engineering technology. Outside, SRMS students also showed off their underwater diving robots, albeit in a giant garbage can and not the ocean.
By the end of the evening, Berberian echoed a familiar parent sentiment.
“Thanks to Christy McCallister for planning such a fantastic night!” she said. “I literally had to drag my daughters out of the building to go home.”
McCallister could not be more thrilled with the continued popularity and growth of the event. Although MRMS students received a coveted science homework pass for attending, students of all ages came for the STEM opportunities.
“It’s really great to see kids get excited and interested in STEM, technology and engineering,” McCallister said.