STEM Week 2018
Every year, Solebury School's math and science departments celebrate the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math by hosting STEM-related events, activities, and guest speakers. The week is meant not only to engage the entire school with those subjects, but also to inspire thinking about STEM-related careers. Seniors: If you are interested in pursuing a potential Senior Project with any of our STEM guests, please follow up with Math Dept. Chair Britta Milks or Science Dept. Chair Cari Nelson.
Sunday, October 21
The Sustainable Tiny House Arrives
Created in 2017 as a sustainable building demonstration at Delaware Valley University, Minimus is the vision of Melissa Matarese and was “brought to life by the hands and hearts of local businesses and volunteers.” The 240 sq.ft. home is powered by the sun and constructed of 90% renewable, recyclable, and re-purposed materials. It is now used as an educational tool for raising consciousness about sustainability in everyday life and to empower individuals to turn their dreams into reality. Read this article to learn how Melissa, an artist with no prior engineering or construction skills pulled off this incredible feat.
Our Honors Environmental Science students drafted and constructed tiny house models of their own. They were excited to tour Melissa's house and get real-world answers to their questions about how it runs and how it was built.
Watch the video below to see Science Department Head Cari Nelson and one of our Honors Environmental Science students discuss the tiny house.Woman uses tiny house to teach about sustainable living
Monday, October 22
Landscape designer Amy Sanchez Hamilton of Bucks Country Gardens spoke to our Honors Environmental Science and Honors Biology students. Sharing her education, career path, and day-to-day work, we learned about horticulture, landscape design, and how climate change has forced her industry to adapt to new circumstances. She answered dozens of our gardening questions, explaining what to plant where (indoors vs. outdoors, shade vs. sun, etc) and when (vegetables like potatoes and kale can be planted this month!).
Our chemistry students took a field trip to Crystal Caverns, and math students kicked off their weeklong project of building Geodesic Domes with teacher Jen Perez. Head of School Tom Wilschutz agreed to be a "Head Master in Prism" and sat inside the dome once it was completed!
Tuesday, October 23
In addition to several classes touring the tiny house, math and science students enjoyed a presentation by pilot Wayne Fowler, who has worked for the Air Force and Delta Airlines. He discussed the mechanics of flight, what happens to your body in flight, and he shared an entertaining video of him experiencing a centrifuge machine.
A local paramedic and EMT workers talked to our Anatomy and Physiology students about what it's like saving lives for a living, sometimes in potentially dangerous situations — the stress, intensity, and incredible rewards of their jobs. They brought students to their vehicles to show them the equipment, tools, and medicines they use.
Wednesday, October 24
Physics students headed into town to watch the Odette Building being moved to a new location in New Hope, PA!
Representatives from Penn Community Bank spoke to math students about how to build good credit, reviewed FICO scores and why they matter, shared common examples of credit fraud and how to prevent it, discussed budgeting, and more.
Alumnus Riley Murphy '02, Ph.D returned to campus to give a special presentation. Riley is the Technical Director of NMS Labs. He spoke to our Chemistry and Honors Biology classes about spectrometry, choosing chemistry as a potential career path and the education required, and he led our students in an experiment. (Riley met his wife Alyssa at Solebury, and they just had their second baby!)
Our Forensics class took a field trip to the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion field trip, where expert John Cambridge gave a presentation on Forensic Entomology.
At our weekly schoolwide assembly, Melissa Materese gave an inspiring presentation on her tiny house and how it came to be. A trip to New Zealand (where sustainability is part of the culture) had encouraged her to live a more eco-friendly life back in the States. Students were impressed to learn that despite having no background in engineering or construction, Melissa figured out how to source the right materials and help and ultimately brought her dream to life. We also discussed things that we can all do to live more green in our everyday lives.
Lastly, STEM Week even dominated Solebury School's weekly faculty meeting, where teachers created "Möbius strips" (where the recycling symbol came from).
Thursday, October 25
ER Physician Linda Chaille-Arnold P'20 works at a hospital located in Kensington, a neighborhood in North Philly recently described by The New York Times as the "Walmart of Heroin." Dr. Arnold gave a presentation on the schooling required to become a physician, the different types of jobs available in medicine, the kinds of patients and injuries that she treats every day in the ER, and ultimately, why she truly loves her work.
Scientists Andra Garner and Greg Garner, who joined us at last year's STEM Week, gave presentations on climate change and environmental science.
Our film students got to test-drive a new trend in the industry: the 360-degree camera. Equipped with at least two lenses, the camera requires you to rethink how to shoot scenes (for example: the director obviously can't be in the room)!
Friday, October 26
Dr. Cynthia Keler '79, a professor at Delaware Valley University, and a Solebury School alumna, gave two presentations on Microbiology, engaging students in a debate of "Are viruses living or not?"
Laura Hoesly, of Summit Consulting, LLC, spoke about her work as a statistical analyst, including how an internship led to a full-time job, the types of clients her company sees, and what her work entails. She gave specific recommendations on classes to take in college, from computer science to writing courses.
Solebury School junior Alex Rosenfeld '20 gave a terrific presentation on the "trash to treasure" side business he launched reselling items on eBay that he'd purchased at garage sales, and how he transitioned into selling used car parts found in junkyards.
Every year, Solebury School assigns our math classes a problem to solve by the final day of STEM Week. This year's problem was: Predict the total amount of food composted Solebury School's dining hall staff in one week. The final amount weighed in at roughly under 100 lbs, and it was Britta Milks' Algebra II class that had the most accurate estimate (75 lbs.)