Wes-Del Middle School and High School Hosts 2nd Annual STEM Day

Wes-Del elementary students are pictured playing the "Star Wars Intro" on the "Slap-o-phone" PVC keyboard.Wes-Del elementary students are pictured playing the "Star Wars Intro" on the "Slap-o-phone" PVC keyboard.

By Todd Reagan, Principal—

IN Secretary of Education Jenner attends.

MUNCIE, Ind.—Wes-Del Middle/High School hosted the corporation’s second annual STEM Day on Tuesday, May 16, 2022.  The event featured over four hundred students from Wes-Del Schools participating in an interactive day of learning and fun. Elementary students in third, fourth, and fifth grade were bused to the high school field house to participate in the now annual event that is the brain child of high school science teacher Austin Williams.

Mr. Williams, teachers, and students from the middle-high school, and various community partners worked together to create and facilitate stations that the elementary students rotated through.  Community partners from Ball State University, Purdue University, Jennerjahn Machines, IU Health, Mursix, and several other organizations donated their expertise and time to make the day a success.

A lot of time, thought, and planning went into creating this year’s STEM Day.  According to Williams, “When thinking about what to host for STEM Day, I didn’t want to replicate anything that students could see in their classrooms or with a parent at home. Thus, a five foot tall trebuchet (a type of catapult), a giant PVC Keyboard, and a lot of other unique station ideas came into rotation. Plenty of planning meetings with teachers and outside workplace STEM field partners started with ‘Lets go big; now how big do you want to go?”’  This year’s STEM Day included several more stations than last year.  Some of the stops for students included a hovercraft, virtual reality experiences, medical detectives, drones, robotics, coding, water rockets, and more.

Wes-Del elementary students are pictured on the "Teeter Totter Science" with WDES STEM teacher, David Lamb.

Wes-Del elementary students are pictured on the “Teeter Totter Science” with WDES STEM teacher, David Lamb.

This year’s STEM Day event also included some special guests from the Indiana Department of Education. Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner was on hand along with STEM specialist Dana Hartzel. Jenner and Hartzel interacted with students and staff along with touring the many stations and enjoyed seeing how Wes-Del was incorporating STEM across many grade levels.  This was the first time that Secretary Jenner had visited Wes-Del Community Schools however, she did offer a possible return visit to see if the school could utilize the trebuchet for a pumpkin launching contest.

The second annual STEM event was considered a huge success by both students and staff alike. Fourth graders Ruthy Leman and Quinn Slopsema were among the elementary students who had a great time.  Leman said, “There were a lot of really cool stations that were unbelievable.”  Slopsema added, “I thought the hovercraft was crazy and I couldn’t believe it came off of the ground.”  At the end of the day, Mr. Williams seemed quite pleased as well stating, “I believe the majority of middle and high school students, teachers, and volunteering workplace partners had a great time interacting with elementary students. They would often comment on what they would like to see next year or how they could help out even more.

We certainly look forward to next year’s event and cannot wait to see how it continues to grow and develop into even more opportunities for our students.” Williams and administrators are discussing a possible idea of inviting other local area elementary schools to come and participate for future events. Those interested in learning about this or other STEM initiatives at Wes-Del Community Schools are encouraged to contact the building principals.