By: Samantha Conners, Contributing Writer
Tonya Schmidt, CHS science instructor, teaches a STEM class as part of the school’s curriculum. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The purpose of this class is for students to research topics that interest them, engage in collaborative projects and review case studies.
Gwendolyn Bostick, senior, is researching the effect that EMF waves (electromagnetic field waves) have on the propagation of various bacteria cells. She wants to become a doctor, and she may use tools she has been introduced to in STEM in her future career.
Junior Aida Stanley is doing a project about the effect snails have on a closed aquatic ecosystem. At the moment, she is using an Autodesk program called Tinkercad. This allows her to design and create objects to 3D print. Currently, she is working on designing and printing objects to put in her aquatic ecosystem. She monitors the aquatic ecosystem with pH, temperature, and conductivity sensors from Vernier.
Hannah Pendergrast, junior, is looking at the propagation of algae and the effects of algae on marine life. She said, “Participation in STEM allows me to experience what it is like to create my own project and work on it without having to rely on other people. It provides a lot of freedom that I think is important for discovering what you want to do in the future.”
When asked about what each student is learning, Schmidt said, “Each student is learning how to set up a research experiment. It is a challenge to come up with ideas to investigate that have not already been done. They set up their own mode of experiment. They define the independent, dependent, constant and control. Most experiments are pertaining to an environment issue or social issue.”
STEM involves a lot of hard work and problem-solving. In order for students to be successful in the STEM class, they need to have a variety of skills. “To get the most out of a STEM education, you need the skills the acronym stands for: science (physical and chemical), technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Schmidt. This course allows students to challenge themselves in ways they may not find in other classes, and it also gives them the opportunity to learn about specific issues that interest them.