(The Hour, 5/13/17)
Brien McMahon’s gymnasium was transformed into a veritable laboratory Saturday afternoon as students from each of Norwalk’s public schools gathered for the citywide STEM Expo.
Mechanical marble sorters, handcrafted catapults, intensely detailed models of sustainable homes and imaginative creations from students of all ages, from pre-K to high school, lined every inch of the gym as a part of the district’s inaugural event.
The expo, which supplanted the more traditional science fair model for the first time this year, pitted elementary, middle and high schools against one another in a competition built to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.
In prior years, the district held individual science fairs for each school in the district, where students completed strictly science-based projects and displayed their findings on a poster board in a school gymnasium.
The old science fair method followed a very traditional model, with specific procedures and processes to test a problem within science, said Michael Conner, the district’s chief academic officer.
This year, the district sought a way to better embrace and exemplify the collaborative and interactive principles championed by the STEM model — thus the STEM Expo was born.