At Saegert Elementary School, students cheered and laughed with math magicians, gazed on wild animals in the library and built circuits, made videos and glowed in the dark.
On SMART Kids Day at the school Feb. 21 everyone was doing Science and Math Activities Requiring Thinking.
In all, 27 presenters showed off a huge variety of math, science, engineering and technology applications aimed at students of all abilities from youngest to oldest.
“It’s a special day to present science and math activities in a different way to get kids excited about learning,” said Janice Manson, campus instructional specialist at Saegert and chief organizer for the annual event.
One popular presentation, “Zoomagination,” featured animal handler Robert Trejo and a host of curious creatures.
His tarantula, “Lolita,” is the largest of the spiders. “It’s also the sweetest,” he said, assuring audience members the creepy-crawling critter would only attack insects, though it can bite if provoked.
Other animals, like a colorful, feathered macaw and a long, slick boa constrictor, showed students the fascinating variety of the animal kingdom.
In another part of the campus, students from the special education Functional Skills program touched goats, rabbits, chickens and ducks in a presentation focused on sensory experience.
“Some of these students don’t have sight and this kind of sensory experience is good for them to touch and feel,” said teacher Tina Spilman. “For some of them, this may be their only chance to be around farm animals.”
Other activities addressed groundwater, germ spreading, computer coding, surface tension and much more.
In the cafeteria, “Professor Newton” used visual aids to demonstrate vocabulary like molecule, atoms, Newton’s laws and the Bernoulli Principle that explains the science behind lift regarding air flight.
The presenter, Will Hatch, made teacher Brianna Davis’ hair stand up as electrons pushed away from each other and showed how electricity can travel through and illumine lights via people holding hands.
Fourth-grade teacher Wendy Edwards, new to Saegert this year, was impressed with the day of science and said her students told her all about it in advance.
“I’m excited,” Edwards said. “I love it. The kids get active with hands-on learning. They are up and moving. Science can be about books, but they are an active part of their learning. They have been telling me about SMART Kids Day a long time.”
One of her fourth-graders, Ayona Bailey, confirmed the day of active science and math was a special tradition at her school.
She listed several favorites, but liked the math magician the best.
“There was a person in the gym, a magician, who showed us you do math in everything you do,” she explained. Even music, she said, relies on math concepts.
Her class also learned about recycling and made a video with dancing and rapping to explain the conservation practice. In another presentation, students learned about stop-motion animation.
“It was my first time to do stop motion,” Bailey said, explaining how she and her peers took pictures of a clay ball and made a video with tablets showing the ball bouncing.
“It was really cool,” she said. “It looked like the Play-Doh was bouncing.”