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Photos: Red Wing students experiment with STEM

The FIRST Lego League Jr. and Lego League for the Red Wing School District were showing off their robots during STEM Night at Burnside Elementary School on Oct. 11. From left: Casey Ward, 12; Cayden White, 13; Gavin Plath, 9; and Benson Dahl, 9. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 8
Gavin Gottwalt, 6, and Andrew Gottwalt work on a hexbug during the STEM Night on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 8
Lily Braunreiter, 7, and Joe Braunreiter work on a marble run made out of cardboard rolls during STEM Night at Burnside Elementary School on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 8
The Red Wing High School Robotics team and Tower View Robotics team were showing off their robot from last season during the STEM Night at Burnside Elementary on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 8
Mia McChristian, 7, and Lance McChristian work on Lincoln Logs during STEM Night at Burnside Elementary School on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia 5 / 8
Mariah Hamann, 7; Brian Hamann; and Micah Hamann, 8, work on building a spider web bridge out of scissors, tape, yarn, cups and unifix cubes during STEM Night on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 8
Jeremy Pfeifer, 6, and Jake Pfeifer work on making a catapult during the STEM Night at Burnside Elementary on Oct. 11. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 8
Gracie Grant, 8, does hopscotch coding during the STEM Night at Burnside Elementary on Oct. 11. Grant has to follow the sequence correctly to make it through, testing her math skills. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia8 / 8

Hopscotch, robotics and marble runs. These things were all a part of STEM Night on Oct. 11.

The gymnasium at Burnside Elementary was packed with eager students and parents who explored stations that take the everyday teaching of STEM education and offer kids a hands-on experience.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM education helps introduce students who might not normally get a chance to experience these subjects in a more intimate way.

There were nine different stations for students and parents to play with:

• STEM challenges: Students picked a card that described a task and used the materials in front of them to complete the challenge. Students and parents got to put their engineering skills to the test in constructing structures that met the cards' requirements.

• Spider web bridge STEM challenge: Students built a bridge between two plastic cups, using scissors, tape, yarn, cups and unifix cubes. The term spider web is used because students connected the cups with the yarn, creating a spider web-like pattern.

• Bee Bots: A colorful toy that helps students learn early coding skills.

• Hopscotch coding: Students navigated the hopscotch by problem-solving and using their coding skills to reach the end.

• Build your own catapult: Students were tasked create a homemade catapult out of a variety of items.

• Marble runs: Students taped cardboard tubing onto the wall in a pattern, lining it up to a small cup. The goal was to send a marble through the tubing and into the cup.

• Hexbug Sumo wrestling: Students, with the help of special guest Tom Meagher, a STEM Education faculty member of Southeast Service Cooperative, made hexbugs and sent them into battle in a sumo wrestling-style match.

• FIRST Lego League Jr. and Lego League: Students on the FIRST Lego League Jr. team and Lego League team showed off their robots that they designed. The junior team is grades 2-4 and will be available at Burnside starting in Spring of 2019. The Lego League team is made up of grades 4-8.

• FIRST Robotics Teams: The Red Wing High School Robotics team and Tower View Robotics team showed off the robot they designed from last season to eager students.

The point of the night was to entice students and parents, showing them that subjects like science and math don't have to be boring or learned from a textbook.

Most of the stations on display are part of the curriculum in the district already, but as part of the upcoming Nov. 6 election, the Red Wing School District will be asking voters to consider a levy increase of $1,200 per pupil to replace the current $811 per pupil levy in Question 1, with Question 2 adding an additional $450 per pupil. The current levy is set to expire next year.

The district would like to expand their offerings and continue to improve their STEM programming with the money from the increased levy.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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