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Gila County Students Lead at 2016 STEMFest
Jonas Schwenk (left) teaching about reptiles at the 2016 Gila County STEMFest (photo by: Autumn Giles)

Gila County Students Lead at 2016 STEMFest

“You can teach somebody else when you’re younger than them. It’s pretty fun,” explains Destiny School second grader Mariam Sow. Sow was one of the many Gila County students who were exhibitors at this year’s STEMFest, teaching their peers about reptiles, robotics, and more.

STEMFest-2106-15Sow and her Destiny classmate Jonas Schwenk ran the popular reptiles booth at Saturday’s STEMFest. They made games to help kids identify snakes by name and learn which ones are poisonous. Schwenk explained that he and Sow divided up the work to prepare for STEMFest. “We kind of had to split up the work so we could do it at home,” said Schwenk. “There are 12 different animals on there. We split it up so I had to write about six and she had to write about six.”

Schwenk credited Sow with having the idea for the reptile booth and STEMFest. According to Sow, it was a no-brainer. “I just thought, ‘it’s a reptile booth and we both have snakes, so why not bring them,’” she says. Both Sow and Schwenk liked teaching other kids and said they would want to try it again in the future.

Superior High School Freshman Bruno Godinez spent the day sharing his passion for robotics. Godinez was active in robotics in junior high and is now a driver for the Superior High School robotics team. “It has been been pretty cool because you get to show them what robotics is,” says Godinez.  “It’s not just about nerds. It’s about playing with metal and driving robots.”

In its fifth year, Saturday’s STEMFest featured over 40 exhibitors. The festival celebrates science, technology, engineering, and math education by providing tangible opportunities for Gila County students to both learn and showcase their expertise. Upwards of 600 people came out to take advantage of the hands-on activities and demonstrations, including grinding corn with a stone tool called a metate, playing chess, learning about quicksand, and making electricity. In the long run, STEMFest is an important piece of raising awareness for STEM education in Gila County.

STEMFest-2106

 

The complete list of STEMFest exhibitors includes:
APS
Arizona’s Children Association
Arizona SciTech Festival
Arizona Water Company
Az Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
Bullion Plaza Museum
Capstone Mining
Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center
Copper Vista Dental
First Things First
Freeport Labs
Freeport – Pollinators
Friends of the Library
GCC – Biology
Gila County Gem & Mineral Society
Gila County Recorder’s Office
Gila County Sheriff’s Office
Globe Fire Dept.
Globe & Miami Head Starts
Globe Library
Globe Police Dept.
Health Choice
Miami Library
Read On
Reptiles
San Carlos Robotics Team
Sound of STEM
Southwest Gas
SRP
Superior Robotics Team
Taliesin
TigeRobotics
Tonto National Mon.
TOPS
UA Coop./ 4-H
UA Coop. Ext.
UA Health Sciences Library
US Forest Service
USDA-NRCS
Young Public School
Gila County Health Dept.

 

About Autumn Giles

Autumn Giles
Autumn Giles is a freelance writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Edible Baja Arizona, Modern Farmer, Punch, Serious Eats, and elsewhere. Her first book, Beyond Canning was published in February 2016.

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