SM&SH Day Introduces STEM to Middle Schoolers


David Li ’21

SM&SH day began with an interactive activity led by Mr. Michael Boone in Walker Auditorium.

While many students were away from campus after Family Weekend, local sixth-graders gathered to engage in STEM-related activities during the annual Sixth-Grade Math and Science Hotchkiss (SM&SH) Day.
On Tuesday, October 5, teachers and student volunteers held math and science workshops for 120 sixth-grade students from seven local middle schools.
Mr. Michael Boone, instructor in physics and engineering, started the morning off with a lecture in Walker Auditorium on the basics of roller coaster design and the use of variables and formulas. After Boone’s introduction, students were divided into small groups and attended morning workshops. An hour of hands-on activities in the Student Center followed lunch. In the afternoon, students attended more workshops and the day concluded in Walker Auditorium.
The 12 workshops featured at SM&SH day were designed to expand the students’ understanding of and interest in STEM subjects. Mr. Justin Almeida, instructor in mathematics, held the “Criss Cross” workshop in the morning. The workshop was centered around a geometric game that introduces the mathematical concept “the Euler Characteristic.”
At the same time, in the EFX lab, Mr. Bill Fenton, instructor in physics and astronomy, introduced the computer software Arduino. Students used this software to manipulate a code to light multiple LED lights and simultaneously change their blinking speed. Jason Shan ’23, who helped with Fenton’s workshop, said, “I volunteered for this specific workshop because of my robotics experience. I found it almost nostalgic to relearn what my old robotics coach taught me years before.”
SM&SH day, organized by the Math Club, strove to create a day balancing work and fun. As a board member, Felix Bao ’21 said, “This is my third year organizing and participating in SM&SH day. I am now on the board of the Math Club, so I feel it is my responsibility [to lead in this event]. Additionally, this event gives an opportunity for the students to have a taste of what STEM subjects are, which is beneficial as they progress up the education ladder. ”
Dr. Marta Eso, instructor in mathematics, Mr. Almeida, Mr. Fenton, and Ms. Kelly Whelan, faculty services librarian, also helped organize the event. The Math Club also received support from the school’s dining hall. Dr. Eso said, “This event is one of the [many] community service events [that Hotchkiss hosts]. It is also fun and uplifting for all of us. You should really see the smiles on the Hotchkiss student’s faces. They genuinely enjoyed it.”
The Math Club hopes to offer tutoring to middle-school student in coming months.