AMS Holds Science Expo 2.0

Students used donated iPads to better evaluate and understand global scientific issues.

School science fairs with mere baking soda volcanoes are a thing of the past now that students have their hands on the latest technology.

Amherst Middle School held their First Annual Susan Stitt Global Science Initiative Exposition on Thursday, where students showed off their scientific experiments based on global topics and concerns.

The 190 projects included experiments on problems such as acid rain, salt runoff and methane gas. The students were tasked to relate these global problems on a local level over an eight week span, where they used 21st century skills to communicate and solve problems.

Students were able to use iPads thanks to a generous donation from the Bean Foundation, who gave AMS twenty of the Apple products. The devices have been used to communicate on their projects, engage them on the information and as test devices using the large number of applications available.

For example, one student used an iPad application to test the memories of different subjects, while another used it to test the reaction time of gamers versus non-gamers. Students were also tackling tough issues such as processed sugar’s effect learning, C02 levels and accidental poisoning from medicine.

The Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation was established in 1967 as a general purpose foundation to serve the communities of Manchester and Amherst and, consistent with the wishes of the founders, grants are made in the fields of arts and humanities, education, environment, health, human services, and public/society benefit.

Susan Stitt had served as chair of the Bean Foundation prior to her passing last year from breast cancer. She had also been a member of the Amherst School Board for nine years, where she served as chairperson for seven of those years.

Her husband, Steve Stitt, said that his wife was a great supporter of technology and innovative methods of teaching during her time working with Amherst schools.

“My wife really felt the future was bringing the whole world together,” he said. “You can start from a little town, then the country and then the world.”

Stitt said that his wife lives on in spirit, as students use the latest technology donated from her foundation to learn essential skills to succeed in a fast-evolving world. The young students are showing no problems assimilating their learning into the 21st Century.

“[The iPad] was a lot better than computers because there are a lot more apps to use,” said AMS student Jack Arnold. “Working on my project was a lot easier.”

Faculty were also using the iPads to take pictures/video of the event to share with others. The focus on applying this  new technology on global issues has been readily accepted by the science department. There are plans to expand the program and keep looking for the newest technology to connect the students to the world around them.

“We want to truly engage the kids about these topics,” said science teacher Linda Farrington.

Robert Michaelson April 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The kids were filled with enthusiasm yesterday, and their knowledge on their topics was impressive. Congratulations to Amherst Middle School for hosting another fine event!
Steve Stitt April 21, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I really enjoyed talking to the students about their projects. My wife would have been very happy with the enthusiasm they showed and their understanding of the global issues that they are going to have to understand and solve for future generations.
Joe Liddell Jr. April 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Cheers to all the parents and family who went to the science fair and looked at the kids' projects. Students put their heart and soul into their projects, but don't always get much attention or the awards. Often these are the harder to grasp projects that take some time to understand. So I try to find the kid that isn't getting a lot of attention and ask them about their project. It's pretty amazing what these young minds are thinking.


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