The Peak of Discovery: SJHA's Spring STEM Series

The Peak of Discovery: St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) themed event series this Spring 2024.
April 23, 2024: 2nd Annual Project Lead the Way STEM Symposium featuring Grades 1-8 led by Mr. Pablo, Ms. Maresca, and Mr. O'Keefe
April 24, 2024: Editors and team members from Scholastic's SuperSTEM Magazine visited to the 5th Grade Editors and team members to observe how the magazine is being implemented in our school and to also speak to the students about process of creating each issue.
May 2, 2024: Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna visits with Grades 5-8 to speak with students about the US Space Force, STEM, and the importance of striving for one's goals. 
May 23, 2024: Dr. Steven Agustino, the Director for Online learning at Fordham University, will provide professional development to teachers from Catholic schools across Staten Island here at SJHA. His presentation will focus on the access, equity and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in classrooms. 
We were thrilled to welcome a distinguished guest speaker, Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna, to St. Joseph Hill Academy on Thursday, May 2, 2024 to speak to Grades 5-8. As the highest enlisted rank in the United States Space Force (USSF), Chief Master Sergeant Bentivegna brought with him a wealth of experience, knowledge, and insight into the Space Force, a branch of the US Armed Forces responsible for securing US interests in, from, and to space. 
Chief Master Sergeant Bentivgena's visit was incredibly educational. Students gained insight into his daily life including his experience testifying in front of Congress and engaging in public affairs works, alongside learning about the responsibilities of the Guardians in the USSF working in Operations, Intelligence, Cyberspace, Acquisitions, and Engineering to help keep the US secure. CMSSF spoke about the space debris that the US Department of Defense tracks and the incredible importance of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in our daily lives. He also explained the differences between NASA and the Space Force and how they work together and the major impact space exploration has had on our everyday lives (wireless headphones, athletic shoes, memory foam, scratch-resistant lenses, and so on!). 
He engaged with our students for a significant period of time fielding all their questions about travel to Mars, UFOs, and space tourism, and he shared personal stories and inspiration from his own remarkable life journey. CMSSF Bentivegna grew up not far from Staten Island in Jersey City and entered the US Air Force in 1994. When asked by an SJHA student if he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up as a student himself, he reflected that what he wanted to do changed over the years but he knew he wanted to be challenged every day and to make a difference. He said, "the 'what' changed over the course of 30 years, but the 'why'... to be challenged and to grow, always stayed the same."
Following the departure of Grades 5, 6, and 8, CMSSF Bentivegna spoke in a smaller group setting with SJHA 7th Graders who will be taking Project Lead the Way's Flight and Space module next year taught by Mr. O'Keefe for a special edition of Learning with Leaders. They prepared further questions that covered a range of topics, which CMSSF answered thoroughly and with enthusiasm. One key insight from the conversation was his belief that the most vital attributes for students aiming for success in this field are innovation and critical thinking skills. He emphasized that the problems the US Space Force grapples with are difficult ones. He encouraged the students to question their assumptions and always think outside the box. 
CMSSF wrapped up his time with us by sharing his excitement for the future. "You're going to get a chance to see things and go places that we can't even dream of." Just remember, space is a lot closer than you think! (62 miles to be exact)
We are so grateful to Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna for choosing to come to speak with our students. Their level of engagement and awe was clear from beginning to end. We thank him and his fellow Guardians for their service to our country. Thank you to SJHA faculty member Mrs. Simone Melendez for connecting CMSSF Bentivegna with our school.
As part of our Spring STEM Series, The Peak of Discovery, our 5th Graders enjoyed a visit from Scholastic SuperSTEM Magazine. The magazine is designed to support today's core science, engineering, math, and ELA standards. It provides a hands-on approach to building STEM knowledge and skills, encouraging students to problem-solve and investigate phenomena through real-world interdisciplinary texts, easy-to-prepare activities, and demonstration videos. 
Editors and team members reached out to SJHA to observe how this new resource is being implemented in our school. For this, the students worked on an oil cleanup activity in the classroom. The Scholastic editors also took the time to educate our 5th graders on the publication process. They shared insights into the process of creating each issue, from brainstorming ideas to researching topics, writing articles, designing layouts, and selecting images. They learned about the role of editors, writers, designers, and photographers in bringing the magazine to life.
Thank you to Scholastic SuperSTEM Magazine for your visit and for being a wonderful STEM resource.
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) STEM Symposium 
THE PEAK OF DISCOVERY! SJHA kicked off our Spring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Series: The Peak of Discovery with our 2nd Annual Project Lead the Way STEM Symposium showcasing the PLTW STEM work of our students from Grades 1-8.

PLTW Launch STEM experiments from Grades 1-5 were featured in the Upper Gym. 5th Grade student ambassadors were on hand to provide the background to each experiment that students were taught by Ms. Teresa Maresca.

Students from our Grades 6-8 PLTW Gateway Program taught by Mr. Pablo, Mr. O’Keefe, and Ms. Mistretta were scattered throughout our cooperative learning spaces.

Student ambassadors were in the Robotics Lab providing information on our Automation and Robotics PLTW course (various VEX Mechanisms and VEX builds) along with how they use microscopes and cell models.

The Cooperative Learning Technology Center featured students doing live experiments and showing guests how our state-of-the art technology works. We heard from students in the Magic of Electrons course regarding DC motor builds and snap circuits. Students from Green Architecture showed off the Revit Program and Floorplanner 5D. They showed how they utilize the Anatomage Table and experiments they do in Diffusion Lab. They also showed the Respiration Experiment.

In the Science Lab, students gave examples of what they learn in Medical Detectives like the MRI Brain Dissection and Positive/Negative Toxins. Students also showed off the Sugar Cube Experiment.
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