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Steam Institute: Year Two

By Evan Berman, Layout Editor

As my second year as a member of the STEAM Institute comes to an end, I want to recognize and acknowledge the highlights of my year, as well as things to keep in mind while making the decision of which institute to join when entering high school. 

Last year as a ninth grader in the STEAM institute, there were definitely times when I felt overwhelmed and overcrowded when in the classroom. We had around 30 students in our class, and because of this incredibly large number, it was very hard to receive help when I needed it. Many people had to come during breaks and lunches to work on their projects and receive help. However, due to the addition of the business and arts institutes this year, as well as the separation of the STEAM classes, I have felt much better in class. Now that there are two classes instead of one, there are only around eight to ten students per class, which makes the student-to-teacher ratio three to one, which is great. In addition to the smaller class sizes, I have also experienced a calmer workload. Don’t get me wrong, we still have work, and I have had to come outside of class to receive help, however, I have only had to do so very rarely. This year, we have spent most of our time reviewing what we learned last year, and it has certainly had its challenges, but it has come pretty easy to most people. We have spent one unit on coding, where we have gone back and worked with LEDs, buttons, switches, and other circuits. Our second unit was mainly focused on Solidworks, where we practiced 3D printing and wood cutting. Unlike last year when we only had around six weeks to work, this year we have the entire third trimester to work on our capstone projects. At the end of the year, we create a device that solves a problem, which is a combination of the coding and 3D printing that we have learned about in class. We have complete freedom with the materials and resources we use, and can even purchase items we do not have in the STEAM lab, which has been newly renovated this year. Room 206 has been completely turned into a modern room filled with machines, 3D printers, and a laser cutter. We have loved using this new room, and it is one of the coolest things about the STEAM Institute. This year, my capstone partner and I have decided to make a compost box, which will display the moisture, temperature, and humidity of the compost. We hope to be able to implement this system at Barrack in order to keep our community the cleanest it can be. 

All in all, I would definitely recommend joining the STEAM Institute if you are interested in science or engineering, but if you are unsure or do not love science, I would not recommend applying. It takes a lot of understanding and patience, which does not come easy to a lot of people. Personally, I have had a great experience in the STEAM Institute, and I look forward to seeing what it brings in the future.   


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