Iron Range STEM Showcase Sparks Interest in 6th Graders

Brandon Weathers
Updated: October 15, 2019 12:21 PM

When you're crunching numbers in the classroom, keeping students engaged can be a challenge.

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"With the young adolescents, they have to have a 'Why?'" Lincoln Elementary 6th grade science teacher Jordan Kochevar said, "Otherwise with them it's a lot of, 'Why am I here? I don't want to do this, this is boring.'"

That's why the Range Engineering Council holds the annual Iron Range STEM Showcase. Krissy Warwas coordinated this year's event and she said, "It's basically a science fair on steroids."

More than 80 hands-on demonstrations ignite the interest of 6th graders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with some of their favorite things.

"Who would have thought that science equals ice cream? Kids really get a kick out of that," Warwas said.

With robots and magnetic slime, it's easy to forget that you're learning along the way. Kochevar said, "For them to come here and do those activities, actually hands-in doing it, it reinforces those concepts."

For some students, it's a day exploring fields they already have an interest in.

Adam Jacobson is a student at Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids. He said, "It's been really fun. I love science so much because science is so awesome and it was so cool today."

For others, it opens the door to new possibilities.

Phoebe Morgan is a high school student doing one of the demonstrations with the Northeast Range Robotics Team. She said, "When I was in 6th grade, we got to go to this, and it kind of inspired me to join Robotics later in high school."

One day, these sixth graders may be the older students and STEM industry workers leading the experiments at the STEM Showcase.


Brandon Weathers

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