EAST ROCKINGHAM – It seems fit to say that East Rockingham Elementary School, as well as several other schools in Richmond County, are operating at full “steam” capacity when it comes to invigorating activities in the classroom.
Under the guidance of co-coordinators Yolanda Sawyer and Melanie Lampley, the faculty and staff at ERES and other schools undertook the challenge of introducing their young students to the ways and means of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) in a variety of innovative ways.
Better known as “STEAM,” the Richmond County Schools initiative is designed to intertwine the sciences and arts with classroom instruction.
Earlier in the month, with a well-planned and orchestrated approach, kids of kindergarten age through fifth grade were genuinely enthralled with the twenty “stations” that simultaneously educated and entertained the evenly divided groups as they rotated at appropriately timed intervals.
A robotics demonstration was facilitated by Steffany LaBree and eight of her students from Anson County as the engineering prowess that netted them a first-place finish in a recent statewide competition was readily evident.
Other stops along the path of learning included an opportunity to be up close and personal with a Coopers Hawk (who was well-controlled at all times) and a petting zoo scenario with baby goats.
The East Rockingham Volunteer Fire Department provided direct access up and into a fire truck, while Emergency Medical Services offered an inside view of an ambulance.
Other organizations that contributed to the productive occasion included the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department, the North Carolina Forestry Service, and Discovery Place Kids, while a number of individual volunteers provided services and assistance as well.
Fifth grader Kiera excitedly noted that the robot exhibition was indeed her favorite, but that the exploding concoction of Diet Coke and Mentos was a close second on the “fun and interesting” scale. Her mom was thus quite happy with their decision to attend, indicating that events of this nature, while obviously difficult and time-consuming to set up and operate, prove to be of immeasurable value in sparking intrigue with the areas of interest.
Perhaps, in a few years, Kiera herself will perfect the first Diet Coke and Mentos propelled robot, and attribute her introduction to the sciences directly to this event at East Rockingham Elementary School.