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Students’ Creativity Shines at Stanley’s S.T.E.A.M. Expo

The Arts and Science community came together for one exciting night last week as Stanley Middle School hosted LPIE’s S.T.E.A.M. Expo.

S.T.E.A.M. stands for: Science Technology, Engineering, Art & Math and this well-attended exhibition saw over 150 Stanley students showcase their creativity in all of these disciplines.

In the past, the event was traditionally a Science Fair held every two years. But this time around, LPIE expanded the categories to include art, robotics, home economics, wood shop and computers along with science and math. Music was also in the air as Acalanes jazz musicians performed in the courtyard and forty Stanley musicians participated in a solo ensemble concert in the music room.

“It’s not your grandpa’s Science Fair,” said Stanley Principal David Schrag.

Stanley’s multi-purpose room and gym were filled with interactive exhibits and demonstrations from students and community exhibitors such as Contra Costa HazMat, BMW Motorcycles, the Lindsey Wildlife Museum, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, East Bay Municipal Unility District and many more.

Visitors to the expo could see anything from student-drawn comics and other art work, crochet samples, BattleBots, computer programs and countless other experiments, many of which students did during their free time outside of school.

Under pressure: an interactive demonstration about air pressure.

One of the more popular exhibits was 7th grader Dash Fabela’s air pressure experiment. Participants would sit inside a plastic garbage bag while another person vacuumed all of the air out of the bag, so that the person in the bag could feel the difference in air pressure – and get a tight squeeze in the process. A long line of students waited patiently for their turn to get “under pressure” – and even Stanley Principal Schrag and Assistant Principal Brian Mangold gave it a try.

In the multi-purpose room, 8th grader Roman Mirov had a table full of mini computer components that he built himself at home. Mirov said he learned more about how to construct the devices by reading manuals and watching tutorials on YouTube.

“Anybody can learn what they’re interested in online or in books,” he explained.

Stanley computer teacher Brian Connolly’s students displayed their interactive projects on the stage of the multi-purpose room. Eighth graders Ellie Gainey, Nuala Maher, Jules Auston and Giovanna Fry showed their motorized replica of Disney’s spinning tea cups ride, which was partially produced on a 3-D printer and used motors to move the spinning parts.

A group of 8th graders built spinning teacups in computer class.

Students from home economics did cooking and sewing demonstrations, while art students gave a “how-to” on using the pottery wheel. Wood tech, robotics, math and computer students also showed off their skills during the evening, while a taco truck fed hungry expo goers out in the school’s courtyard.

Meanwhile, community exhibitors like Napa-based GIGAmacro showed off the latest technology in high-resolution cameras and software.

“The exhibitors were engaged with the students and were open to lots of questions,” said S.T.E.A.M. Expo Co-Chair Matt Fabela. “There was great interaction was going on during the event between students, parents, visitors and the exhibitors.”

Assistant Principal Mangold prepares for the pressure experiment.

Stanley Assistant Principal Mangold agreed, noting that it was good for students to see the applications that S.T.E.A.M. subjects have in the real world.

“It’s amazing all of the resources in this community, and great to have them here to inspire our youth and be inspired by them,” said Mangold.


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