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Elementary STEM

Bethanie N Rizzo - Elementary STEM Chairperson
Phone: (631) 244-2306 ext: 2909    



Digging Up Fun

In an effort to enhance their scientific studies, first-graders at Bosti and Slocum Elementary Schools recently received a visit from a Maritime Explorium representative for their “Wiggly Worms” workshop.

Throughout the course of the STEM-oriented activity, students became animal behaviorists as they took part in respectful, animal-friendly experiments to investigate the senses and reactions of earthworms. Within designated workstations, the students explored what components of the habitat provided worms with the most desirable living environment. 

The students were highly engaged as they discovered multiple factors which would impact the worms’ environment, such as their reactions to different intensities of light, the types of soils and substrates most beneficial to their living situation, and how they responded in dry or moist conditions. 

At the end of the experimentation period, the students gathered around in a circle and shared their findings amongst one another, explaining the factors they found to be most beneficial and harmful to the worms’ environmental factors. 


Bridges to Higher Learning

Third-grade students at Idle Hour Elementary School recently took part in the STEM-oriented “Bridging the Gap” activity, working alongside one another to become architects and engineers for the afternoon as they built their own bridges and support structures. 

Prior to their building session, the students were introduced to the history of bridges during a presentation by a representative of the Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson. During this information session, the students were made aware of the different building materials which go into the creation of a bridge, including steel, stone and concrete. Additionally, they were able to compare differences in structure between bridges, noticing the inclusion of cables on some and the size of the guard rails on others. 

The young engineers then put their newly acquired knowledge to the test in an activity which asked them to use index cards to support the weight of 25 small toy bears. They worked collaboratively to construct creative support systems, ultimately arriving at unique designs which were successful in holding the weight of the bears.

Additionally, the students constructed “bridges,” with the goal in mind of allowing toy cars to cross successfully, keeping in mind the width of their bridge, the weight of the vehicle and the number of index cards necessary toward building the perfect bridge.

Classroom Space Travel

As part of the STEM-oriented Science 21 curriculum, first-grade students at Bosti Elementary School recently studied astronomical entities such as the sun, moon and stars. 

Throughout the course of their studies, the students engaged in multiple experiments such as noticing the changes and differences in light and shadows as cast by the celestial bodies. Additionally, the young astronomers observed and charted shadows made by a fixed object at various points throughout the day, and even made their own sundials. 

Helping Butterflies Spread Their Wings 

Fifth-grade students in Cathy Mongiello’s class alongside Sandra Fantauzzi’s fourth-graders at Cherokee Street Elementary School are helping to repopulate the butterfly population. They are using the school’s native plant community garden, which has been named an official monarch butterfly waystation by the Monarch Watch organization.

The school’s garden, which lies directly in front of the main entrance to the building, is home to a large number of dormant milkweed plants, an important source of nutritional value to monarch caterpillars. With these milkweed plants present, large numbers of monarch butterflies were attracted to the location, and soon began to colonize and make the garden their new home. 

With the assistance of their teachers, the students used their scientific knowledge to classify these caterpillars, and sketched their progress in nature journals as they transformed from larvae to caterpillar, chrysalis and ultimately a beautiful butterfly. They also collected facts on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. According to Mrs. Fantauzzi, the class is hoping to create a photo journal of this experience to share with the community after the adult monarch butterflies take flight.

 “Seeing the children come out and experience what’s happening in their environment in a real time, real world setting and be able to connect to it on such a personal level is more meaningful than anything I could have done within the classroom,” said Mrs. Fantauzzi. “Being able to see the excitement within them each day in anticipation of what’s happening next has been so rewarding, both for them and myself.”




Important Links

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Help for students!

Resources for Teachers


Math Help for Parents and Students


Family STEM Games and Activities

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