MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Larchmont’s Isaac Dapkins’ two young children both had science exhibits on display at the first STEM-tastic Saturday on May 3, at Hommocks Middle School, which featured exhibitors from kindergarten to high school to professionals.
Isla Dapkins, 6, exhibited a project titled Sunflower Race and her brother, Paolo, 7, had a project titled Make Your Own Energy With Water. Their father is a doctor and medical director at Bronx Lebanon Integrated Services System.
“I’m the proud father of two children exhibiting today,” he said.
Ian Melamed, 14, displayed one of two robots built in Ron Nobles’ eighth-grade technology class. His was the tetrics robots.
“It has a light sensor, which is uses to tell the difference in light being emitted from two surfaces, and it will follow the crease in the floor until it gets to the end when it will stop because of its ultra-sonic senson,” he said.
Not too far away, sixth-grader Alex Sirkin watched as the three-dimensional printer he helped build last year created a bull.
“There’s one or two spools of plastic in the bag and it gets fed into these wires all the way into the extruders, which can move all around the chord like a grid,” he said. “It heats up the plastic and melts it into the shape you want and builds it layer by layer.”
In other words, it’s like LEGOS on the Internet, he said.
“The cognitive development that goes into STEM-style learning is cognitive development that can serve you in any discipline,” said Margaret Kaufer, a parent and organizer of STEM-tastic Saturday. “So, it’s logic, problem solving, and that’s why we want to celebrate STEM across disciplines. We mention those categories – science, technology, engineering and math – but we’re not limited to that.”
Kaufer said some have added an A to the STEM learning moniker for art, like Maria Barajas. She is an art teacher at Hommocks and an exhibitor at STEM-tastic Saturday. She displayed a few pieces that incorporate engineering, including a robot made from old stereo parts.
Another display Barajas brought was her wire sculpture of a Doberman named Sarah.
“I show them the technique I learned along the way,” she said. “I show them, they apply it, they pick up on their own techniques and they create. I’ve seen kids in my art class create a cupcake, drum set, a bird flying. Just amazing stuff.”
Other attractions included a traveling BioBus, a 10,000 piece Keva plank building area, the Nerdy Derby from the World Maker Faire, scratch programming lessons and a rocket blast-off area.