The top six airplane design homeroom teams from Barker Middle School in Michigan City, IN took on six challengers from businesses and community groups around Northwest Indiana in Barker’s STEM Paper Airplane Challenge.
Officially, it was all done in the name of having fun while learning about science and technology. Unofficially, the kids wiped the floor with the community groups and businesses.
STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a national movement aimed at getting kids active and involved in these areas of learning.
“Barker is a STEM based school, and has been for the past three years,” Curriculum Coach Amy Hamann said. “Before that, we had many STEM-related curriculums in place.”
As a result, the kids at Barker learn from science and engineering based themes stressed by the Indiana Science Standards, and incorporate these teachings into interactive events to show that learning about science and technology can be fun.
“Our goal is to engage students with the real-world, hands-on, higher level thinking projects to get them excited about school and interested in the fields of STEM,” Hamann said, who was the coordinator of today’s paper airplane event.
“It’s fun when students ask when our next STEM challenge will be,” Hamann added.
The kids at Barker had previously engaged in an egg drop, water bottle rocket build, and a previous airplane activity, but this was the first time that Barker challenged all comers from around the Northwest Indiana community.
Before the final round today, all 27 of Barker’s homeroom groups had participated in preliminary competitions, with the top six emerging to take on the Michigan City Police Department; KTR Corporation; Michigan City Airport; Sullair Corporation; NIPSCO, and the Michigan City Senior Center.
The Michigan City Senior Center gave the best fight against the kids, but it was clear from the beginning that these kids did their homework.
The center finished fourth, while Mr. McArthur’s homeroom finished third with a throw of 55.2 feet. Mrs. Subecki’s homeroom finished a respectable second with a throw of 66.5 feet, but it was Mr. Brennan’s homeroom class that stole the show with a throw of 90.2 feet that hit the back of the gym wall.
Ultimately though, it was all the kids who got to participate in a fun event while learning the importance of science and technology that won these past few weeks.
After all, as Hamann said, “STEM careers provide creative, practical solutions to our everyday problems. We need to inspire our students to invent, design, and create things that matter!”