WARSAW — The Warsaw Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees heard several presentations Monday night, April 23, that showed its students can continue to grow intellectually thanks to several initiatives related to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program in the district.
The board and the audience responded with laughter and applause during presentations from Jefferson Elementary School and the Washington Elementary STEM Academy.
Karis Miller’s third grade class from Jefferson Elementary School were highlighted for their project that incorporated the pizza business into learning about such things as fractions in math and persuasive language. The children finished the presentation by supplying all of the board members with a piece of pizza from Pizza King. Xavier Xique was awarded first place in the contest and his pizza, the Xavier Deluxe, is on the menu at the Winona Avenue Pizza King throughout the rest of the month of April.
“After we found out that Xavier’s pizza would be on the menu, we were really excited about that,” said Miller.
David Burden, STEM Instructional Coach at Washington STEM Academy, addressed the board and reported on last month’s Elementary Robotics Showcase, but not without first paying homage to the Jefferson pizza project.
“STEM disciplines fit best within literacy,” Burden said, “so when you see students connecting with partnerships and relationships within the community, that’s where it’s elevated and you see students thrive and you see them igniting the passions that they have interest in.”
Burden began his presentation by thanking one of Kosciusko County’s largest employers for its role in making the robotics program a success.
“I’m here to share about a partnership and a relationship that started in the Spring of 2015,” Burden said. “Warsaw Community Schools and Zimmer at the time had an opportunity to connect and be able to progress STEM forward. And, one of the places we wanted to do that was with elementary robotics. We wanted to have an event for students in an academic field that has the same type of hype as a Warsaw basketball game.”
Burden told the board that the academy’s robotic event in March packed the Career Center gym and involved more than 200 students from all eight of Warsaw’s elementary schools.
“This year was our third annual Elementary Robotics Showcase and I wanted to share with you a little bit about the event,” he said. “The event itself is an opportunity for all eight elementary schools in Warsaw to participate in a science fair-style, robotics showcase where students have an engineering challenge.”
For the 2018 event, Burden said students focused on drag racing, which required students to boost their understanding of such engineering principles as gear ratios.
“We’re constantly wanting to grow STEM, constantly wanting to grow capacity of our learning with the STEM disciplines, so that is why this year looked a little different,” Burden continued. The event lasted for two hours and involved children in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Aside from the help of Zimmer-Biomet, a total of 48 volunteers were used for the event and several other corporate sponsors.
For its help with STEM projects, Superintendent David Hoffert recognized Zimmer Biomet with a certificate. According to Hoffert, Zimmer Biomet recently granted Warsaw Community Schools $150,000 to further STEM initiatives.
“We are so thankful and excited to partner with Zimmer-Biomet,” said Hoffert. “We know that the giving of time, talent and resources is vital to the well-being of our community.”