Science phenoms at Cavitt Jr. High

‘STEM’ elective program builds on state standards, prepares students for real world
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Cavitt Junior High School students with an aptitude for engineering and robotics showcased their work during an open house May 17.

The main attraction: Several Rube Goldberg machines they designed, which perform simple tasks through chain reactions.

“The students had to partner up and had a rubric they had to follow,” said teacher Brian Robertson. “They took what they learned in the classroom and applied it (to real life).”

Students created machines that drop a ball and, through a series of actions, pop a balloon.

The open house showcased the Granite Bay school’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) elective program, which helps students develop necessary skills for college and future careers by building on California state standards.

STEM immerses students in science concepts while encouraging exploration, investigation and creativity. Students are taught to "think outside the box” while engaging in project-based learning.

“This was the brainchild of the science department,” said Principal Jennifer Platt. “We’re in the second year, and we had a great first year … We want students of all abilities. The program isn’t open to just GATE students.”

The course is part of a larger Eureka Union School District program called Challenge 21, which attempts to keep students on the leading edge of learning by inspiring them to be critical thinkers and high achievers.

~ Philip Wood and Sena Christian