Laurel Elementary puts spotlight on science [Old Town]

Laurel Leader

It’s full STEAM ahead at Laurel Elementary School, where new and expanded programs are immersing students in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The school of 604 students in the heart of Old Town introduced a makerspace program this year for its fifth grade students.

“It’s an opportunity for students to tinker, doodle, make and create,” said Dee Bonuccelli, a library media specialist who oversees the program.

Fifth graders are creating their own paper circuits during makerspace time and compiling their circuits in accordion books, where they write about what they’ve made. Soon they’ll work on e-textiles. The materials are funded through a Prince George’s County Public Schools initiative that brings makerspaces to Title I schools.

In January, the school hosted a Family Code Night that featured Hour of Code puzzles. Parents and their children worked on coding together and got a fun introduction to computer science.

February at the school included a visit from Cole Miller, a professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland. He spoke to third, fourth and fifth graders about black holes and neutron stars.

“His goal wasn’t just to lecture…but to get them to question and get them excited,” said fourth grade teacher Heather Kampmann, who coordinated Miller’s visit. “The kids had a blast.”

Miller is one of the Nifty Fifty, a program of the USA Science and Engineering Festival that brings science experts to local schools. Kampmann said students asked Miller “the most amazing questions” during his visit and that some got to join him for lunch to learn more.

Laurel Elementary also celebrated its science fair and family STEAM night on March 7. Dozens of families gathered for a carnival-themed party to celebrate science. Parents and kids worked together to create their own catapults and musical instruments. The evening also featured robots, paper circuits, pendulum painting and marshmallow towers.

Those in attendance got to check out the efforts of fourth and fifth graders who created individual science projects in which they had to follow the scientific method to investigate a topic of their choosing.

Fourth grade winners were: Emily Reyes, first place; Jeffrey Romero, second place; and Giovanni Mitchell, third place.

Fifth grader winners were: Marianna Yanes Varrera, first place; Gloria Perez Arias, second place; and Adrian Ard, third place.

The first and second place winners in both grades will compete in the county science fair in May. Congratulations to the winners.

American Legion Post 60 will be hopping on Sunday, March 25 when the post hosts its Children’s Easter Party. The fun runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the hall at 2 Main St. The afternoon will feature Easter crafts, indoor games, prizes and a visit and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Free refreshments will be available for children under 12. For more information, call 301-725-2302.

Pallotti Early Learning Center at St. Mary of the Mills will hold its Open House on Wednesday, March 21, from 9 to 11 a.m. at 800 Main St. Registration for 2018-2019 pre-school programs will take place at this time. For more information, call 301-776-6471.

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