Science projects, whiz-bang tech and hands-on activities all came together for a family-centered celebration of smart at Hickman Charter School.
“I love how it gives the kids a chance to get their hands involved in science,” said mom Jessica Hulen, standing by a robotics activity.
“It teaches them teamwork. They have to work together,” said Katie Osterhout, a seventh-grader leading a robotics activity. “If it doesn’t go their way, they can always fix it. There’s always a way around. That’s a good lesson to learn in itself.”
The Hickman Charter School STEM Maker Faire on Thursday brought together a range of student work and community interests around science, technology, engineering and math.
It teaches them teamwork. They have to work together.
Katie Osterhout, seventh-grader
Fourth-grader Thomas Mason spent much of the event by his science project, showing passers-by how he made a simple electromagnetic train travel through long coils of copper wire. Similar magnets repel each other, he explained, as he patiently worked out kinks in his coils. They could stop his AAA-battery train in its tracks, he said, with a shake of his head.
Thomas lives in Moccasin and does most of his lessons at home. Hickman Charter has home-study students from throughout Stanislaus and adjacent counties. The public charter school also offers classes in math, English and some electives, and teacher help at the Hickman Community Charter District’s elementary and middle school campuses.
But every two years, those far-flung students come together for the STEM Maker Faire, said school Director Frank Kampen. During alternate years, the school has a family camping event around environmental science at Turlock Lake.
The fair showcases student work from many disciplines around science and tech topics, said fair organizer Ellen Hansen.
“It’s a real blend. We have the traditional science fair, research projects, science collections, science biographies – we try to bring in a lot of subjects,” Hansen said.
Even as a software developer, you have to explore and be creative.
Justin Ribeiro, Stickman Ventures
“You definitely learn a lot,” said Jonathan Staley, an eighth-grader, as he painstakingly folded a diagram into a paper airplane.
“I think it’s great,” said Delia Perryman as she watched her 5-year-old grandson getting help with his airplane.
“You can walk around and, ‘Oh, look – it’s a poster’ or a paper. (But with hands-on activities) you actually learn more,” said Lydia Waters, a sixth-grader, as she stabbed dry spaghetti into mini marshmallows to build a tower.
“I think it stretches kids,” said Erynn Wiggins, who teaches science and math at the school.
Software and website developer Justin Ribeiro at the Stickman Ventures booth, however, said the fun activities stretch grown-ups as well.
“They promote exploration,” Ribeiro said. “Even as a software developer, you have to explore and be creative.”