Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anne Beers STEM

It was 6 PM and the STEM program at Anne Beers started. I had to wait until my wife brought my daughter back from dance class before I could leave the house. She doesn't get out of class until 6:30 PM, so I didn't get to Anne Beers until around 7 PM.

The first thing that I noticed as I arrived is that there were cars around several blocks. I've never seen the street next to Beers so crowded. I thought I was going to one of my old Pittsburgh high school football games. As I walked past the field and around the side to the front door, I seen people every where in the school. Since I was late, some people were leaving but most people were in various rooms within the building. The last STEM program I went to, I just remember going to the auditorium and that was it. It looked as though the entire school was being used for the STEM demonstration.

As I walked into the door that let to auditorium, there were people everywhere. People upstairs, downstairs, in the auditorium, in the library, in Mrs. Harris NASA simulation and various other rooms in the school.

I spent most of my time in the auditorium speaking to a couple parents and looking at the exhibits. The first exhibit that caught my eye was a plastic human torso that a few young girls were putting together and taking apart. Another young lady (I believe from the children's museum) was explaining how the stomach works and the large and small intestines. The young girls giggled as she mentioned the last step of human digestion, "this is where the poop comes out". I'll be honest, I giggled too... a man's giggle (if that exists), not a little girl giggle!!!!

The next exhibit was two real pig lungs hooked up to an air pump. One of the lungs was injected with die to simulate a smoking lung. The smoking lung also had a fake tumor to demonstrate what happens to a lung when the air pathway is restricted. As the children pressed and depressed the air pump, you could see the lungs expanding and contracting. Both of the healthy lungs would expand and contract as you expected. The smoking lungs with cancer barely expanded at all because of the restriction in the air pathway caused by the tumor. There was one little girl that kept touching the lungs. I didn't dear put my hands on those things, but she didn't mind. The young lady working the both had to keep giving the little girl a baby wipe to clean her hands. But I only seen her use it once. Maybe she'll be the next real Gray's Anatomy star. I'm sure she'll learn to clean her hands properly by then.

There were a few other exhibits that were interactive and had many children surrounding the table. I didn't want to get ran over, so I watched from a distance.

The last exhibit I visited was a group of Georgetown students that were running a Marine Discovery Program. To my surprise, Anne Beers is the only school with this program. Basically, once a month, students from Georgetown will come to Anne Beers and teach students about and dissect different marine life. They are dissecting a squid next month. Go here for more info, or email

In conclusion, the STEM night was a huge success and was a treat for all. Mrs. Payton and Mrs. Harris and the rest of the school staff did a wonderful job and I'm certain that with the help of the parents and the community, Anne Beers can be one of the, or the best, school in the city.

To learn more about STEM, go here

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