LUPTON — Students at Lupton Jr. High School are eagerly preparing for the school's first STEM and Art Night event next month.Many Walker County schools have heavily focused on STEM (science, …
LUPTON — Students at Lupton Jr. High School are eagerly preparing for the school's first STEM and Art Night event next month.
Many Walker County schools have heavily focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education this year, including Lupton. Through STEM activities, students are challenged to think critically and problem solve.
Lupton students will showcase their STEM projects they have completed over the course of the school year during STEM night on May 13, and student art projects will be on display as well. The event starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
Many schools incorporate the arts into STEM activities, and Friday, students were busy learning to use oil pastels with the help of local artist Sarah O'Mary Roberts.
"Walking around to the classrooms, it's amazed me at the artistic ability some of the students have," Lupton Principal Corey Shubert said of student art on Friday and what he has witnessed over the past few months.
Shubert said Lupton invested in STEM this year by purchasing robots for Grades K-8. Students use code to program the robots to perform various actions.
"Our sixth through eighth students love it," Shubert said.
Other problem solving STEM activities have included a bridge creation and a Barbie zip line and bungee competition.
The bridge project tasked students with creating a bridge out of teak wood, based on a scale drawing. Once the bridge met specifications, students then competed to see which bridge could hold the most sand while being the most lightweight.
The Barbie competition was also a fun experiment for students, Shubert said.
"They tried different materials to make the zip line out of ... to see which one she was the fastest on," Shubert said. "They calculated the velocity of how fast she could go down the zip line. Then on the Barbie bungy, they had to calculate how many rubber bands it would take to give her the most fall without touching the ground."
At STEM night, students will be on hand from each grade level to demonstrate such projects.
"Students will be sharing experiments that they have designed in their classes, demonstrating their robotics skills, and each child will have a piece of their art work framed, displayed, and for sale in the school gymnasium as a fundraiser," Lupton reading specialist Alicia Harris said in an email to the Daily Mountain Eagle.
She described the event as the first of its kind in Walker County.
Shubert credited Harris for conceptualizing STEM night and for being the driving force for further integrating STEM activities at the school.
"I think it engages every student, and the students that are not as strong academically are able to shine sometimes through doing hands on stuff," Shubert said. "It just opens up a new world for every student. It puts them on the same playing field."
Lupton is seeking corporate sponsors so students will be able to continue STEM studies in the years to come.
"We're out here, and we really don't have businesses and corporate sponsors, because we're not in a city. That's one of our challenges," Shubert said.
Sponsorships will allow the school to seek STEM accreditation and help purchase supplies for STEM.
Lupton is also in the process of developing mobile STEM activity centers.
"That's our biggest goal right now," Shubert said. "Everything will be on wheels where we can roll it out of the way and still use the gym."