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Students rise to the challenge at Community School Kids' Expo

Addison, Cassidy, Claire and Joshua, all students at New Hampton Community School, were proud to show off the creative designs they came up with to hopefully help an egg survive a drop from the roof of their school building during the PTO's Kids Expo last Thursday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2018
NEW HAMPTON — The Parent-Teacher Organization of New Hampton Community School presented students with a special challenge this year, asking them to create a project that incorporated components of either Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts or Math (STEAM) for a Kids Expo, and the boys and girls approached that challenge with a full "STEAM" ahead attitude.

"For this year's challenge, we asked them, 'How can you take something and reinvent it?' This is one way of showing kids (through recycled goods) that they don't have to buy everything new to have fun,'" said Nora Foster of the PTO.

The parent-led organization recently acquired the money and manpower to build a new playground at the school but also made a commitment that they would help promote science education at NHCS. Their plans for the "Kids Expo" proved to be a big win for students and parents alike.

"When you're on vacation and there's not a lot to do, this was tons of fun. It was a great way to keep you occupied," said Beau Jarris.

Jarris said he loves marble tracks, so his plan for the expo was to come up with a game board that used recycled materials for his creation of "Re-Cycle Zone." For his game, marbles are dropped to make their way through a complicated maze then finally end up inside one of three points-awarded cups at the bottom. Recycled water bottles, popsicle sticks, parts of old milk jugs and more made the maze not only earth-friendly but a lot of fun.

His younger sister Noelle, a Kindergarten student at NHCS, also recycled egg cartons to create a grassy scene for her class project, "The Kindergarten Learning Tree."

Other students took on an engineering challenge, building bridges from popsicle sticks that were then weight-tested with books from the library. Some of the bridges proved to be so strong that Joshua York, a fourth grade participant, finally joked when his bridge couldn't be broken, "Put a dictionary on top now and it'll be all done."

There was a Monster Truck Football Challenge and even a fan made from small cardboard food boxes, a plastic bowl and a remote controlled car.

"I just wanted to make a fan that I can use at home," Beck explained.

Students from Newfound Regional High School and New Hampton School also took part in the expo, from volunteering to assist with the event to presenting projects of their own, like NRHS senior Josh Cronis's Mars Colony display made from styrofoam, PVC pipe, plastic and aluminum foil.

The grand finale for the night however was the Egg Drop. A threat of thunderstorms last Thursday evening prevented New Hampton Fire Department from setting up their aluminum ladder for the drop, but PTO member Jennifer Hennessey bravely climbed onto the roof of the school to test all of the young engineering designs that students hoped would keep their eggs intact.

One of the 22 teams who took part in the challenge encased their eggs with sponges. Others recycled plastic bags and even bandanas to make parachutes. There were rubber ball encased eggs, egg containers surrounded by spikes of drinking straws, and one team surrounded their egg with cooked macaroni in hopes it would absorb the shock.

"Success!" was heard several times as students uncovered their eggs after the 15-foot drop, followed by a few groans of disappointment when some shells were cracked. It was all part of a learning curve though.

"I know what to do different next time," said one student as he carted off his damaged egg.

For the record, the macaroni worked, amazing even the adults who looked on.

Each of the students who took part in the event received ribbons and there were special certificates presented to students who showed creativity and success in the egg drop.

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