Taneytown Elementary, Knorr Brake partner to make science fun for everyone

Knorr Brake partners with Taneytown Elementary School for STEM night

Endeavoring to make science fun for everyone, the Knorr Brake Co. sponsored a science, technology, engineering and mathematics night at Taneytown Elementary School on Thursday. Sixty-seven students and their families attended the Olympics-themed event.

“It’s important to do what we can to make science fun,” said Randall Wingate, Knorr Brake’s manager of engineering services. “We wanted to create activities for kids to do so they can have an interest in science. If you can have fun while you’re learning, there’s a much higher probability of it sticking.”


Wingate and 19 other Knorr Brake employees volunteered to facilitate three hands-on STEM activities. Two of the three activities could be taken home so the students could continue to work on them. Groups were given 20 minutes per activity.

Students created a vortex blaster to show the physics of vortexes. They also designed tabletop catapults to demonstrate force and trajectory and learn a little about levers and fulcrums.

They also made homopolar motors which allowed them to see how an electric motor works.

“The idea is that there are three components to every motor — a magnet, electricity and wire,” Wingate explained. “The complexity grows as the motor gets bigger.”

Fifth-grade teacher Emily Nazelrod said STEM gets kids ready for the 21st century.

“We want them collaborating, communicating, and thinking critically and creatively,” she said. “We want them to be able to apply all of those skills in a hands-on, engaging way. What better way to practice that than to do some hands-on STEM activities?”

Fourth-grader Rodrigo Mejia said he was glad he attended the event.

“I like science and this is somewhat hard and fun,” he said. “I like that there are things I can use at home.”

Fifth-grader Raiden Pigeon said the activities were fun.

“We get to build things and then bring them home,” Raiden said. “We learned that you can make just about anything out of stuff you have around the house.”

Raiden’s mother, Jeniffer Nelson, said she appreciated her children got to interact and do different projects.

“It’s good family time,” said Nelson, of Taneytown. “It’s stuff they’re going to remember. They’re going to remember Mom coming with them and that they had fun.”

Kindergartner Caleb Scholl learned a few things about catapults.

“I learned that when you fire the balls the wrong way they don’t go as far and they can be powered by rubber bands,” he said.


Caleb’s father, Noah Scholl, said his son is “super excited about science.”

“He loves exploring his world and he begged to come. Anytime we can foster that kind of energy and enthusiasm, we’re there,” said Scholl, of Taneytown.

“Putting the catapult in action was awesome because we got to shoot balls out of it!” said second-grader Leah Atwell. “I almost got one in the bucket.”

Leah’s mother, Rhonda Atwell, described STEM night as a wonderful event.

“It gets them to engineer things with their hands and they get to put it into motion,” said Atwell, of Taneytown. “I’m grateful Knorr came out and took the time to work with the kids.”

Kandace Carr, a technical writer at Knorr Brake, said she hopes the activities get the students interested in STEM fields.

“Hopefully we’ll pique their interest because we need as many engineers as we can possibly get,” she said.