Ely’s eighth grade S.T.E.A.M. trip of 2019

Ely Memorial Middle School’s Geo APES team competes at the National Geographic Geochallenge Regionals in St. Paul, MN. From left to right: Lily Tedrick, Luna Klingsporn, Charlie Carlson, and Kole Macho.

by Natasha Fulkrod and Lily Tedrick, STEAM students
When you were a kid did you go on any fun field trips? If so, was it an experience that you’ll remember forever? We can ensure you that the field trip that we recently took with my 8th grade STEAM class is something we’ll never forget.
If you didn’t know already STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In this class we do various projects that combine all of these subjects. We make prototypes of things, create slideshows for assignments, do reflections to see what could be done better, and more. Many ideas and thoughts are always being shared in this class and that’s what makes it so much fun. It’s also so amazing how many girls are in this class. That’s a pretty big deal considering there aren’t a really large amounts of women in stem careers these days...although we ARE gaining.
One of the projects we did called Genius Hour was a semester project in which students could choose the topic and project. Kole Macho, Lily Tedrick, Charlie Carlson, and Luna Klingsporn submitted an entry to the National Geographic Geochallenge competition. This competition was to try and reduce the amount of plastic produced or released into the waterways in the United States. This group came up with the idea to have edible utensils like spoons, straws and even plates to stop plastic from initially getting into the environment. They decided on gingerbread spoons for their main food object. Some people may have sampled the spoons because at a bake sale a couple of weeks ago the group handed out samples at Zup’s to get the best survey results.
When we got the news that these students made it to regionals we were so excited. Our class was in the middle of a project where we plan an educational field trip somewhere in the state. Then Ms. Molly (Olson, teacher) told us that we were going to the Cities so our GEO A.P.E.S (Against Plastic Everyday Society) could compete at regionals. We had to switch gears quickly, change everything, and plan the field trip for the Cities.
We had lots of fundraising to do with only 2½ weeks in school to make it happen. We did “Pie Your Teacher” in their face where students put money in the teacher’s bin of their choice. The teacher with the most money got a pie in the face. We also sold raffle tickets to decide who would pie that teacher in the face.
Bella Davis won the honor of smashing a pie in Mr. McDonald’s face. We hosted a bake sale and had various groups donate money to help us. The groups that gave us money were the Range Engineering Council, Ely Education Foundation, Ely Memorial Middle School PTO, and our STEM budget.
\A couple weeks later on March 28 we were on our way to Minneapolis to have this great trip. We went to the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Aquarium within the Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe, the Como Zoo, and most importantly the University of Minnesota where the Geochallenge regionals was hosted.
At the Science Museum of Minnesota we looked around at all the cool things there were to see and entered the Game Changers Exhibit where we got to see technology like never before. They had different games such as Fruit Ninjas, Dance Central, SingStar and many others. We later travelled to the Mall Of America to tour the Sea Life Aquarium and the rides. At the aquarium we saw many different types of fish and sharks. At the mall we were given a ride pass for three hours. We stayed the night at the Hyatt Inn and had an absolute blast bonding.
Friday, March 29 we arrived at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center for the National Geographic Geochallenge Regional Contest. At regionals there were 13 other teams competing. We went into a separate conference room for our A.P.E.S to present. The team didn’t make finals, but all put in a lot of hard work and gave it their best efforts. Everything went really well and the team did awesome.
The Como Zoo tour was a fun way to end our trip surrounded by exotic animals and plants. So many inside jokes were created and lots of pictures were taken. It was such a great experience for all the students who went on the trip. Thanks to all who supported our trip.