Editor’s Note: STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Before this year’s STEM Fest day, held May 14th at the Bell Middle School, the following students volunteered to explain their projects to Inside Chappaqua! Here’s just a sampling of hundreds of projects and experiments the kids have been engaged in. For more information about STEM Fest, visit chappaquaptastem.com
Project: Knock Lock
This circuit is a small locking mechanism that opens or locks a box with a specific ‘knock.’ My circuit has a sound sensor called ‘piezo,’ which can sense vibrations as well as sounds. I wanted to build something that I could attach to my room door, so that only I have access to my bedroom. The best part was making the circuits itself, as I enjoy experimenting with circuits. In this project I soldered wires for the first time and that was fun. The hardest part was to get the right knock intensity to fall in an acceptable range of the code. For my future project, I want to work on an app for my Knock Lock.
I saw a film at the San Francisco Exploratorium about parabolas and got the idea for this project. A pendulum makes a parabola shape. There are all kinds of examples of parabolas in nature. I’m taking pictures of the ones I see and writing about them. I like taking the pictures. When this is over, I might want to study matter, or how dragonflies fly, or what infinity is.
I coded a few different programs using ‘Python.’ Every Sunday, I take Python classes at my friend’s house. The best part about this project was creating new programs and playing with all the games that I made. The hardest part about this project was making the game, because if the coding was not right I would get a syntax error. Then I would have to go back again and find the code that was incorrect. In the future, I want to create a really big complicated game using code.
Project: Testing for Lead
I had been hearing about the problem with water contamination in Flint, Michigan. My grandmother works in Flint at The University of Michigan’s Flint campus. So she collected some water and sent it to in the mail. It was hard to get it here safely. I then talked with my aunt’s boyfriend who works at the National Science Foundation about the best ways to test for lead. He said that using test strips is a fine indicator for lead presence, so I used that. I tested the water from Flint, Michigan, and thankfully it was negative for lead. I then decided to test some toys for lead. I started by researching what toys had been recalled. I found that one of our toys was recalled for lead. And a toy my sister recently received for her birthday even has a notice on it that it contains lead! I want to make sure kids are not getting toys with lead. For my next project, I want to do a study on the immune system or dwarfism.
Henry LePage and William Hollister
Project: A Small Scale Hovercraft
We thought it would be interesting to build transportation that has no friction, because it floats on a cushion of air, and goes really fast. We got the idea for the hovercraft from a book called “How Things Work.” There was a cut away section of the inner workings of a hovercraft, and we decided to figure out how to build a working model based on the picture in the book. The best part of collaborating on this project was working together and using power tools. Truthfully, nothing worked at first. We needed to adjust the weight of the craft and the skirt didn’t seal properly. Then we had to change the height of the fan and make a cage for the fan since we realized the blade could cut off our fingers. The hardest part, by far, was getting the weight down. After the STEM Fest, Henry is planning on building a full scale wooden boat that will broaden his woodworking and CAD skills. William will attend a technology camp this summer, and he has plans to land the first Lego mini figure on the Moon with a model rocket.
Understanding how Enzymes Work