STEM used for end-of-year project

LORDSTOWN — In past years, General Motors engineers had assisted Lordstown Elementary School students with their World in Motion science projects.

The plant was idled in March, so the students took on the task themselves,

Serena Newburger’s fifth-grade students spent several weeks at the end of the school year creating balloon-powered jet toys which they showcased to their parents and other guests this week for the last week of school.

She said the students in groups of four learned which balloon diameter and nozzle size for the balloon would allow the jet toy to travel the fastest and farthest, and why, then presented their results.

Using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), students showed the adjustments they made to their jet toy to see how far it would travel on the cafeteria floor. The jet toy had a small weight inside it with students testing with and without the weight.

Cody Phillips, 11, said they changed the jet toy nozzle’s length, which made a difference in how far the balloon traveled.

“My favorite part was working on the different experiments. We had different balloon sizes, added weights and took off the weights, and tried different nozzles,” he said.

He said jet toy with the 5-inch nozzle, zero weight and 6-inch balloon went the farthest.

Marley Grant, 11, said for two to three weeks, her team tried different balloons on their jet toy.

“It was fun to get to try the different balloons and to make our poster,” she said.

Newburger said the students learned through a lot of trial and error on the project.

“The project let students learn about engineering. Everyone worked together as a team just as they would in real life. They used what we have learned in class to help them. They learned that on a flat surface an object with more mass will slow it down,” Newburger said.

Lisa Phillips, a parent who worked at General Motors, said she thought the students did a good job working on the projects on their own.

“This is the first presentation I have been to. I remember when students would come and tour the plant and we showed what we do there,” she said.