Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead
On Friday, February 10th, the Doane Academy gym was once again witnessed to great competition, but this one was not of the athletic variety. The entire upper school student body participated in Doane Academy’s 14th Annual S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Fair. The students, some working in teams, brought with them dozens of projects that creatively demonstrated their research and work related one or more or the letters of the S.T.E.A.M. acronym.
This “fair” began at Doane in 2004 at a science fair, with students in each grade given fairly specific guidelines and projects to work on, but the creativity of these Doane students could not be contained and quickly the Science Fair evolved into the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fair which, while defining different branches of the sciences, also gave students a greater autonomy to explore their passions. Last year, the evolution continued, as the Arts were added to the mix. Science Department Chair, Michael Russell, pointed out that without incorporating the arts, many of science’s efforts would fall flat. What might our smartphones have ended up looking or functioning like if there was no element of the arts included in its development?
The quality of projects developed by Doane students has, each year, attracted a growing team of volunteering professional who come to the school’s campus to act as judges of these projects. This year, the S.T.E.A.M. Fair was host to over 70 volunteers, coming from Lockheed Martin, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple and Rowan Universities, and many more prestigious schools, and businesses from the region.
Projects that they judged ranged across the entirety of the S.T.E.A.M. fields. To name just a few exemplary projects, this fair included; a project which used the Fibonacci Sequence to create a two-minute piano piece, a poetry collection that explored various mental illnesses, a student who used 3D modelling software and our 3D printers to create various locking mechanisms including a fully functional cryptex, and an historic exploration of the printing press complete with a functioning small-scale press for making custom bookmarks.
Doane Academy has always closed their fair with one or more showcase completions. This year there were two competitions. The Middle Division students participating in a sumo-wrestling inspired competition using LEGO EV3 Robots, while the Engineering Statics students testing their balsawood bridge designs to determine who’s had the best strength-to-weight ratio. Students enjoyed cheering on their favorites as the fair drew to a close. The top 10 projects, as determined by the judges and teachers, will be announced to the anxiously awaiting upper school sometime during the week of February 20th… and then the planning for S.T.E.A.M. Fair 2018, no doubt continuing its evolution, will begin.