Hodge and Chief Science Officers Bring STEM to Elementary Students

Sophomore Mackenzie Hodge is helping elementary students build their projects for an activity.
Sophomore Mackenzie Hodge is helping elementary students build their projects for an activity.
JC Lewis

A handful of high school students, led by sophomore Mackenzie Hodge,  worked together to create STEM days designed for grades 4-6.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which are important to introduce at a young age to expand learning.

Engineering teacher JC Lewis overlooks the CSOs (chief science officers) and assists them with putting together activities. With his help, he allows students to earn community service hours for the National Honor Society.

“We have been to each elementary school in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade,” Lewis said. “The STEM activities we’re doing with the elementary school students were completely designed by Mackenzie Hodge, our sophomore chief science officer or CSO. We have three chief science officers in this school: Thomas Chillingarian, Logan Trimble and Mackenzie Hodge.  There were nine or 10 students that traveled to the elementary school…our students rotated around throughout the elementary classes.” 

Hodge wanted to show elementary school students what STEM means.

“We all have an action plan, and that plan is to contribute some kind of STEM into your community,” Hodge said. “I thought of the idea to combine help from high school students and help elementary students to explain more STEM in their lives while also getting more opportunities to be leaders.”

Elementary students drop marbles down the roller coaster that they constructed themselves.
Photograph by JC Lewis

The first STEM activity consisted of constructing a roller coaster out of paper, then dropping a marble and having it successfully make it through the roller coaster: the more loops and bigger the drop the more points they earned.


Sophomore Mackenzie Hodge is helping elementary students build their projects for an activity. Photograph by JC Lewis

The second activity was a balloon attached to a water bottle. The students put it down a ramp, and they could add pieces to it and see whose invention was the fastest.


Elementary students are seen sketching their catapult and constructing it.    Photograph by JC Lewis

The third and final activity was using a craft stick and making a catapult to launch a paper ball at a target.

Throughout their visit, Hodge was enthralled with the atmosphere.

“I like it because you see the students all happy, excited and working with their friends,” Hodge said. “You can see how they interact with the high schoolers. A community is just something to feel good about…It’s really sweet to see them truly get excited about being able to work with their friends and a lot of them come up with ways to make the experience better.”.

Junior Vickey Chen participated in the STEM days to earn community service hours.

“Volunteering has always been a rewarding experience,” Chen said. “Whether it was at the library or the STEM days, putting time and commitment to my community has always been a passion…One thing I loved about participating in STEM Day was how I was able to meet and talk to the students. I think that it was extremely cool to see all of their distinct personalities and dynamics that I remember elementary school had when I was there. It was interesting to see the parallel.”

Since it is the first year that students have been able to do activities like this, it was a learning experience.
“It was a unique experience that had pros and cons, but, overall, I enjoyed my time there, ”Chen said. “I liked creating the presentation and creating a sort of pretend ‘lesson plan’ because I was able to interest them,” Chen said.

Hodge offered that if anyone was interested in participating and earning their community service hours for the National Honor Society to email her.

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