Fifth-grade students at Lincoln Elementary School were given the opportunity to make music Monday as part of a special day-long event promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Educators from the Michigan-based PEERS Foundation were in Hays all day, giving the students a chance to learn about several components of STEM careers and get hands-on experience.
A highlight of the afternoon was a chance to work with a traditional analog synthesizer, using different components to create various sounds. Radio static could be heard as the students connected their boards to a power source, then many high-pitch squeals filled the air.
“That gave me a headache,” fifth-grader Bailee Herrman said, slipping off her headphones after hitting a very high frequency note. “We’re trying something different.”
This was the PEERS Foundation’s first time in Hays, but a second visit already has been scheduled for Hays High School later this year. Schools also receive 100 hours of science, technology, engineering and math curriculum after hosting a day camp, said Brigette Jacobs, a STEM educator with the PEERS Foundation.
Three educators from the foundation travel the nation in a moving truck full of equipment, with the purpose of helping to open childrens’ eyes to the possibilities of a STEM career.
“Just exposing them to that and knowing their options, because (STEM) is really all around us,” Jacobs said. “There is a large shortage in people who are going into these fields.”
The students at Lincoln also had an opportunity to try computer coding, learn about 3-D printers and try engineering design. The program lasted almost the entire school day, with a one-hour break for lunch.
“It should be a really amazing experience for our kids,” Lincoln Elementary School Principal Elaine Rohleder said prior to Monday’s event.