by: Frank Xydias
STEM is traditionally defined as Science, Technology ,Engineering and Math. However, at the Milford High School & Applied Technology Center in New Hampshire they have created a new STEM acronym: Students, Teaching, Empowering and Mentoring. This play on words is meant to represent what the high school is trying to accomplish with its evening STEM events, where high school students are teaching labs to elementary and middle school students.
On April 12th from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm MHS held its fifth STEM event for 4th & 5th grade students and parents, showcasing business and post-secondary partners in an expo-style event. Eighty, 4th & 5th grade students from Heron Pond Elementary School participated in two of the four one hour labs. The labs included 3D modeling and printing; a Machining Lab called “Tag Us” where
students used hand-tools to layout personal tags; a Computer Programming lab entitled, “Do You Like Arcade Games?” where the students used Sphero Robots to follow maps taped to the hallway floors; and a Culinary Arts lab “Cooking with Molecular Gastronomy” a sphere building lab. As a capstone to the evening students were able to tour and learn about Woodworking Technology, and also picked up some cool swag donated by local businesses.
The opening event for parents was a presentation that focused on breaking STEM stereotypes and providing parents with the tools to help encourage STEM pathways for their children. In addition parents learned about the wide selection of CTE (Career Technical Education) pathways available at Milford HS as well as connections to post-secondary and career planning. One highlight of the evening was a panel discussion on how the CTE programs prepared Milford graduates for their careers. The panel was made up of former students, parents, and industry mentors. Some of the former students had gone on to college, graduated and were working in some of Milford’s high-tech companies. Finally, the Milford HS ELO Career Coordinator presented parents with what potential careers look and feel like in the day-to-day environment.
As the program ended the hallways were filled with laughter, cheers, and excitement as students and parents alike enjoyed a fun filled evening of exploration and learning.
What makes this program so successful and special is the number of high school Students who voluntarily gave up their personal time to help Teach, Empower and Mentor younger students!
About the author; Frank Xydias is a high school engineering teacher who is focusing on STEM activities for elementary and middle school students to improve CTE awareness.