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STEAM Innovation Day Returns to Hendrick Hudson

Rhylee Adviento spent Saturday morning seated at a round table, surrounded both by other members of the STEAM Club at Hendrick Hudson High School and the younger students who paid them a visit. Their craft for the day was to create greeting cards using paper circuits.

Rhylee, a junior at HHHS, said the goal wasn’t just to help littler fingers mount copper tape and lithium batteries to the card, but to explain to the children who owned those little fingers why the design was effective.

“When it lights up, the kids are obviously happy,” Rhylee said. “But we can talk to them about how there is a positive and a negative side to the circuit and explain to them how those reactions work. We can teach them the science behind it.”

Those a-ha moments were central to Hendrick Hudson’s second-annual STEAM Innovation Day, which is designed to introduce students, parents, and other members of the community to the district’s vibrant science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics curriculum. The various presentations demonstrated how new technologies are currently used in classes — or may be applied in the future.

“We can show it to the parents, as well as our administrators,” said Vineetha Joy, the district’s Executive Director of Technology & Innovation. “They can ask, ‘How can we do it?,’ rather than me explaining it.”

Students spent the morning visiting various classrooms to engage in a wide range of STEAM-related activities. They operated robots with iPads, learned how to code Legos, created claymation animations, worked on digital math apps and more.

While three elementary-aged students built a Lego project together, they suggested adding an audio track. They had already written a block code so the Lego structure would move.

Furnace Woods STEAM teacher Megan Boyle smiled and said: “They always know more.”

Even young students were eager to be creative, especially with the help of teachers and student volunteers. In one room, they built self-driving cars and safety alarms out of craft kits, some with the assistance of a sixth-grade volunteer, Sadie Woodger.

“It’s really fun meeting new kids and seeing them try new things,” said Woodger, who has developed a strong interest in technology as a Hendrick Hudson student. “They’re very excited when they see how what they built works.”

In the cafeteria, the STEAM Club and a team of students who compete in robotics were joined by outside vendors. They demonstrated cutting-edge technologies that are now available in classrooms. Some can bolster lessons in unexpected subjects — even social studies. Joy said she believes the modern student is more responsive to innovative methods of teaching.

“Students today are so advanced with technology they almost speak a different language,” she said.

Dr. Christine Rogers, who leads the district’s well-regarded Science Research program, also had a display in the cafeteria and talked to visitors about the benefits of the curriculum, which can help a student graduate with 12 college credits.

“Some parents here think their children are too young, but time goes by quickly, and they will be in high school before they know it,” Dr. Rogers said. “This program makes a huge difference for students, especially in their college applications.”

To end the morning, all the attendees came together in the cafeteria for a raffle. Dozens of families participated, underscoring the popularity of an event that only continues to grow.