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Ellicott steers students to STEM

STEM Night

Alathea Wagner, 6, constructs a chair out of popsicle sticks and clothes pins during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Wagner was one of more than 150 guests who wandered the halls of Ellicott Middle School, exploring and taking part in the STEM displays and games. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

STEM Night

Ronald Furstenau, U.S. Air Force Academy professor of chemistry, plugs his ears as Wendy Schmidtz, audience participant and Ellicott parent, lights a gas which caused a loud sound to occur during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Friday, Sept. 14, 2017. Furstenau called on many audience members to participate in experiments. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

STEM Night

Tech. Sgt. Justin Celmer, Air Force Technical Applications Center Detachment 46 Global Positioning System NCO in charge, teaches Ellicott families about Global Positioning System Navigation during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Friday, Sept. 14, 2017. Celmer spoke at the event while other Schriever volunteers manned stations and assisted with miscellaneous chores. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

STEM Night

Matthew Steele, Ellicott High School Science teacher, retrieves out one of the SeaPerch remotely operated vehicles during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Friday, Sept. 14, 2017. SeaPerch is one of Ellicott’s competitive STEM-oriented teams, which placed second in last year’s regional championship. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

STEM Night

Ralph Schlapp, Ellicott Elementary School teacher, gives examples of building different structures with popsicle sticks and clips during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Friday, Sept. 14, 2017. Schlapp, other teachers and Schriever volunteers led interactive lessons and games to reinforce STEM concepts. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

STEM Night

Ernie Puckett (left), Colorado Springs Rocket Society volunteer, shows Ellicott families how to build rockets during the Ellicott STEM Night at Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. The COSROCS, Colorado Springs Archaelogy, Colorado Geographical Alliance, Colorado Parks and Wildlife as well as other local organizations all came out to support STEM teachings at no cost. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Ellicott teachers, parents and students gathered at Ellicott Middle School to partake in science, technology, engineering and math oriented games, performances, puzzles and more Sept. 14.


Karin Pacot, Ellicott Elementary School kindergarten teacher, coordinated the STEM night, gathering volunteers from STEM-oriented organizations within Colorado Springs to give children and parents ideas of the diverse opportunities in the respective fields. Pacot’s aimed to help children gain appreciation and wonderment for the great, big world of unanswered questions.


"Even in Ellicott, we have a lot of kids who don't get a lot of exposure," Pacot said. "When Schriever housing opened and we got the first Schriever kids, it was like there were my Ellicott kids and there were my Schriever kids, who have lived in a state or two or even another country."


Pacot continued to explain how separate the two groups appeared to be, the military children having been around the world, hiking, exploring, broadening their horizons; while some Ellicott-resident children had not.


"If I could see kids inspired to explore the great big world out there, I would be in seventh heaven,” Pacot said.


Although unable to travel with the students to far-off places, while at the Ellicott STEM Night, students were given the opportunity to explore worlds of archaeology, rocketry, forensics, chemistry and astronomy.


One of the highlights of the night was a chemistry show hosted by Air Force Academy professor, Ronald Furstenau, who engaged children and parents with lab experiments mixed with audience-interactions and comedy routines. After completing the performance, Furstenau laid out chemistry books for children to take home.


"Even as a little kid, I liked to try to understand why things work the way they do," Furstenau said. "I don't think I knew it was science at the time; I just knew it was fun."


Furstenau and other volunteers enabled the fun throughout the night as children filtered in and out of different classrooms and experiences.


"If you have a creative mind, STEM is definitely something you want to be involved in,” said Senior Airman Casimy Metayer, 50th Civil Engineering Squadron electrical systems, and STEM Night volunteer. “A lot of these kids come in, see these things, and not many people know how they work, but now they're seeing all the science that goes behind them."


Pacot expressed her joy in seeing her students engaged in the nigh’s activities, waving and greeting the students jogging, dodging and laughing through the halls.

 

However, her wish is to pursue more STEM-oriented events in the future; potentially enabling her students’ success in the future.

 

“If I could clone myself, I'd do more STEM,” Pacot said. "If I had more hours in a day, I would do more, because it truly is my passion."


"If any of these guys end up doing anything in STEM,” she continued. “I will be the happiest teacher."

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