The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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WiSTEM brings labs and laughter to lower school through STEM Buddies

WiSTEM+Co-president+Sahngwie+Yim+%2811%29+conducts+a+magic+sand+experiment+with+a+lower+schooler+during+the+STEM+Buddies+event.+The+third+and+fourth+graders+attended+a+total+of+five+stations+during+the+event.
Ashley Mo
WiSTEM Co-president Sahngwie Yim (11) conducts a magic sand experiment with a lower schooler during the STEM Buddies event. The third and fourth graders attended a total of five stations during the event.

13 upper school Women in STEM members visited the lower school campus to host interactive STEM Buddies experiments for two classes of first and second grade students on Oct. 27.

WiSTEM members led activities including oobleck, pinecone bird feeders, marker chromatography, alka seltzer rockets and magic sand for the STEM Buddies program. At each of the five stations, two or three WiSTEM members supervised and assisted smaller groups of lower school students as they participated in hands-on experiments.

WiSTEM members first set up stations and conducted experiments with lower school science department chair Enni Chen’s second graders. After one hour, they began teaching lower school science teacher Cassidy Caldwell’s first grade class and subsequently returned from the lower school at 3:20 p.m.

“I love how not only [WiSTEM] is sharing this passion, but they’re passing it on to the other kids, and they see that it’s something that they can do when they’re in high school too,” Chen said.

The STEM Buddies initiative aims to introduce younger students to diverse areas of science through fun and engaging experiments. In marker chromatography, students observed water’s capillary action as it created colorful patterns on filter paper, and in alka seltzer rockets, they learned about gas pressure and carbon dioxide. Students also explored the differences between liquids and solids with oobleck, made natural bird feeders with pinecones and sun butter and tested the properties of water with hydrophobic sand. 

Volunteer Arshia Sankar (9), who joined WiSTEM after seeing their poster at the club fair, reflected on what she enjoyed about the STEM Buddies event.

“It was really fun interacting with all the little kids,” Arshia said. “[My favorite part was] seeing their reactions when they saw the colors disperse on the paper [in marker chromatography]. It’s super fun coming to the lower school and teaching the kids things they didn’t know before.”

STEM Buddies stands as one of WiSTEM’s enduring initiatives, with a legacy dating back to 2014. This year, WiSTEM STEM Buddies directors Kaitlyn Su (11) and Misha Singla (10) worked behind the scenes to orchestrate the event’s success. They purchased materials online and coordinated with lower school administration about meeting times and locations. 

“Throughout that process, we’re getting volunteers to help with this visit, including officers and also WiSTEM club members,” Kaitlyn said. “Actually getting to the place and doing the activities, it’s a lot more chaotic than expected, but it’s fun.”

WiSTEM plans to hold more STEM Buddies events this year, including one at the annual Research Symposium in April.

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About the Contributors
Ashley Mo, Reporter
Ashley Mo (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Ashley hopes to write about stories both within and outside of the Harker community, form friendships on the journalism team and learn more about global news events. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf and listening to music.
Margaret Cartee, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Margaret Cartee 12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Margaret wants to do more illustrations and meet all the new journalists in the program. In her free time, she likes sketching on paper, playing volleyball and sitting in chairs.

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