MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Merced City School District students were awarded at the Merced County Office of Education STEM Fair on Wednesday at UC Merced.
The students displayed their projects in front of judges from the scientific community. Out of 62 participants from across the county, 30 of them were from Merced City School District, including five of the top six overall winners.
Three students from Hoover Middle School, three from Tenaya Middle School, and one from Chenoweth Elementary School now qualify for the California Science and Engineering Fair to be held April in Los Angeles, according to Merced City School District.
Merced City School District says Essey Afewerki from Hoover won first place for his project “The Effect of Fire on Soil Microbes.”
Second overall went to the team from Tenaya, made up of eighth-grader Nicole Torres, seventh-grader Kalyya Saeyang and eighth-grader Georgina Torres for “Cat Allergens and Enzymes.”
Eighth-grader Jessica Ma from Hoover won third place for her project “Acid Rain.”
Fourth place went to sixth-grader Elise Metcalf from Chenoweth for “Pavlov’s Fish.” Seventh-grader Bryan Xiong from Hoover placed sixth for his project “Mirrors and More.”
MCSD’s STEAM program stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The STEAM Center is a 21st-century facility, which provides a collaborative, hands-on learning environment. Students visit the center from all schools and grade levels within the district, according to Merced City School District.
The district says local scientists and engineers also visit the center to help inspire students and open their eyes to the endless career opportunities in STEAM. Teachers are trained at the center and take that knowledge back to their classrooms. Middle schools have their own STEAM Innovation labs where the learning continues.
STEAM education guides inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. It is a priority of the MCSD Board of Education, according to the district.