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SIBLEY, Iowa -- Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School was a ball of kinetic energy Friday night. Students, parents and community members gathered to spend the evening celebrating science. The second annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and math...

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Abraham and Mahlyia Thiesen of Spencer, Iowa, combine different-colored liquids that have different densities to create a “rainbow” during Friday evening’s Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School STEM Expo. Jesse Trelstad/Daily Globe

SIBLEY, Iowa - Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School was a ball of kinetic energy Friday night.

Students, parents and community members gathered to spend the evening celebrating science. The second annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Expo offered an array of events to participate in and observe.
Osceola County Youth Coordinator Michael Compton helped organize the event, which he said was as well attended as last year’s. Area businesses sponsored the grade-level challenges to make the event possible.

“Instead of doing a March STEM camp, we did a big STEM event to showcase all of the things going on in the classroom and what we’ve been doing at our camps,” Compton explained.
Students in seventh grade took part in a science fair. They were able to choose their own topic and presented their findings to attendees of the expo.
Courtney Breuer conducted an experiment on how music affects memorization.Her father, brother and stepmother were asked to memorize a series of numbers while listening to music, and then a second set without music. Each participant chose their favorite music.
Overall, Breuer discovered listening to music made it more difficult to memorize the information. Breuer said she had fun with the project.
The science fair portion of the expo is a popular event for the school as well as a unique learning opportunity.
“Parents have always been great supporters of it,” S-O Middle School Principal Mike Morran said. “The neat thing is they get really truly a chance to experiment and do a bit of a research study. They learn a lot. It’s a neat experience.
“One of the best things I love about it is to see the creativity and what they come up with.”
Additionally, students were able to compete in grade-level classroom challenges and competitions. Challenges included a windmill competition, balloon car racer testing, wind turbine testing, a marshmallow tower challenge, a math bowl and derby, a domino challenge and a display by the sophomore Applied Physics class.
Sixth-grader Kelli Greenfield competed in the wind turbine contest with her team. Friday marked Greenfield’s first time to the STEM Expo. She intends to return next year as well.
“I like it,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield, along with Autumn Dake, Madelyn Timmermans and Abbey Roth, was given the STEM All-Star Award.
Mrs. Iowa International, Jill Barr, is a coach for Kidnetic Energy, the junior 4-H Lego League from Spencer, Iowa. Barr and her team presented what the group is doing at the expo.
Kidnetic Energy joined fellow first- through third-grade teams from Sibley in a showcase and competition. It was a first experience for the team, and the kids were very excited to showcase what their group does.
Barr shared why STEM is so important for students.
“It’s something that is going to take them anywhere they want to go,” she said.
“There’s tons of fields out there in any of those disciplines,” she added. “It just gives them ... a good start and foundation to be excited about those fields, and hopefully stay in Iowa and do those jobs when they get older.”

Related Topics: SCIENCE
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