OSSINING, N.Y. -- Students from Ossining High School are working with younger students in the district during the school year to spark their interest in STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and math.
One recent collaboration featured a Star Wars scenario. This month, Roosevelt School fifth-graders walked into a ninth-grade class at OHS and joined in a "Star Wars" scenario cooked up by science teacher Jonathan Dobelle.
Their mission was to conduct an experiment which would help them repair a starship which had been heavily damaged by the blockade it was navigating. A la "The Phantom Menace," the Jedi Knights aboard were sent out to settle a conflict there.
Students had to figure out how to correctly hook up fuel, water and turbine-balancing solutions -- and failure would cause a catastrophic chain of events that would render the starship useless. Students had to test the acidity of different liquids: the acidic one was what could fuel the starship.
“It was fun,” fifth-grader Miles Bala said after his team dipped pieces of litmus paper in the liquids to figure out which was acidic, which was basic and which was water. “I like the storyline about how the ship crashed.”
The lab experiment is part of the district’s new Science Nation Project, which the Science, Engineering and Math Department at OHS developed. “Our belief is that systematic, hands-on, authentic learning opportunities in the field of math, engineering and science will spark and sustain early childhood interest in STEM subjects,” said Alexandra Greenberg, director of science, engineering and mathematics for the school district.
The younger students are partnering with high school peers for lessons including the living environment, forensics, engineering, 3D printing and Makey Makey circuits , among others. In total, 14 elementary classes are scheduled to visit OHS this academic year. Before each visit, the high school and elementary school teachers collaborate to prepare the lesson.
OHS freshman Ruby Rodgers said she was impressed with how smart the fifth-graders are. “I feel like they enjoyed the lab,” she said. “They made me understand it more.”
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