Hewlett school launches bottle rockets and aspirations

Franklin Early Childhood Center hosts STEAM Night

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“It’s magic,” yelled a Skyler Goldsmith, a first-grader, watching a remote-controlled robot navigate the hallways of the Franklin Early Childhood Center on Oct. 3. It wasn’t, but that sense of wonder and excitement permeated the school’s entire STEAM Night.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), is a focal point in Hewlett-Woodmere’s curriculum, and parents had a chance to see what that entailed. Pre-K students experimented with colors, kindergarteners learned about force and motion and first-graders built rockets out of soda bottles and launched them outside with some help from Dr. Brian Terry, the district’s science chairman. The PTA sold slices of pizza, and families watched Casey Carle’s Bubblemania show, where he taught the students about science using bubbles.

Dr. Lorraine Smyth, the school’s principal, said the event is a way to highlight the programs and show parents what their children are learning. “It’s a great opportunity to explore and learn about these areas,” she said. “Parents can see how we teach these concepts.”

Hewlett High School’s three robotics teams, Bionica, Innovo and RoboBoogie, showed the students what sort of projects could de done on as they advance in their learning. Bharvi Chavre, a captain of Bionica, the all-girls team, said, “We want to show kids what’s available to them. It’s amazing to see little girls’ faces light up when we tell them about the team.”

The bottle rocket launch was the biggest hit of the event. After designing and decorating the rockets, the projectiles were partially filled with water, then Terry would pressurize them with an air pump and the students would pull a string launching them into the air.

After taking his turn, first-grader Frank Spinner, said that his favorite part about science is also environmentally friendly. “I like making robots and stuff out of recycling,” he said.

Smyth said that she hopes that this event helps set the tone for the upcoming Arts Below Sunrise Music and STEAM Festival. The event on Oct. 14, is coordinated by the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Endowment Fund, and will have more than 50 interactive exhibits and activities from The Cradle of Aviation, the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, the Molloy College Center for Environmental Research and Coastal Oceans Monitoring Program, the Star Wars Jedi Light Saber Guild and more.