Chappaqua Students Expand Scientific Horizons at STEM Fest

Alexis Oh and Cecelia Clearwaters, second-graders at Chappaqua’s Douglas Grafflin Elementary School, with their gummy bears project at Saturday’s third annual district STEM Fest.

It was a beautiful afternoon outside on Saturday but inside Robert E. Bell Middle School in Chappaqua about 330 students were having fun at the district’s third annual STEM Fest.

The students were scattered throughout the school having voluntarily registered for the event. They displayed their projects that covered astronomy, psychology, environmental science, biology, chemistry, computer science and human anatomy.

Lori Morton, chair of the Chappaqua PTA STEM Committee, said the event is an opportunity for students in every grade to choose projects that excite them and help them develop their creativity and discovery.

“The kids are so passionate about their projects, they’re so into it and they really just can’t wait to show people what they’ve done and explain to them the science behind it,” Morton said. “I’m always so impressed by the level of sophistication from even the littlest kids.”

She added that the increasingly popular event challenges students to think about science in a sophisticated way where they learn the skills to research topics, organize a presentation and explain it to others.

“It’s always great and it’s amazing for me to see, just the knowledge of science within the community,” parent Matt Christensen said. “It’s really breathtaking.”

Devisi Goel, a sixth-grader at Seven Bridges Middle School, created an Alzheimer’s clinical trial program through the use of artificial intelligence. Goel said she was inspired to know more about the disease after her grandfather was diagnosed.

Goel, who has participated in STEM Fest all three years, said the project gave her a chance to learn more about the disease, clinical trials and how to program.

“I really like science and it’s fun; I want to become a doctor,” she said.

Alexis Oh and Cecelia Clearwaters, second-graders at Douglas Grafflin Elementary, worked together to see what happens to gummy bears when they are exposed to vinegar, milk, water, juice, baking soda and salt.

“At first, we were thinking to do something with particles, but then we changed it to gummy bears because it’s more fun and they’re yummy,” Clearwaters said. “Science is fun. We learned how osmosis is responsible for shrinking things with water.”

In addition to the students’ projects, various companies hosted activities as students explored animal behavior, robotics, chemistry experiments and computer programs.

“This event teaches (the students) that there’s more to life than what they just see in front of them,” parent Jason Clearwaters said. “It expands their minds and creates a vision for the future.”