SciOly and Robotics Collab for the First STEM Fair at Stuyvesant

SciOly, Robotics, and other clubs collaborate in order to host the first STEM fair at Stuyvesant in the cafeteria.

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On Saturday, March 23rd, Stuyvesant’s Science Olympiad team and Robotics team collaborated to host the first STEM fair in the cafeteria. The fair attracted over a hundred attendees from not only Stuyvesant but also parents and students from other schools.

Sophomores Andrew Glick and Nisan Safanov are members of Robotics and SciOly, respectively. They began planning soon after Glick came up with the idea. “I’m on Robotics and [Safanov is] on SciOly. And so I went to him and I was like, we both do engineering and STEM kind of stuff. We should do a fair and show off what we’re doing,” Glick said. 

Marketing was an essential first step of the duo’s fair planning.  The STEM fair not only targeted Stuyvesant students, but also people of all ages and backgrounds, as evinced by the outreach done to various coding schools and Tribeca community members. “We wanted families, young children, to come. And we had to get the word out to them. So what we did is, I work at a coding school near Stuyvesant, [theCoderSchool Tribeca]. And I had them send out an email to their mailing list, which is essentially Tribeca families that are interested in coding in STEM,” Glick said.

It was important to recruit more people from inside of Stuyvesant, as more than just two people were necessary to bring the fair to life. “We had to organize…get people from our groups, SciOly and Robotics to sign up, like come to help. We had to make sure all of our stuff was working so we could bring it. We had to get a permit for the cafeteria. Chaperone Mr. Thomas helped us with everything,” Safanov said.

The two organizers mentioned that the biggest challenge of the process was the promotion of the event rather than any other step. “The hardest part was the outreach. So we started off with maybe two people signed up. That was maybe like eight people total, like two parents, two kids. And then as time went by, we started sending [emails] out more and more [and i]t got through. So a lot of people ended up coming,” Safanov said. 

Though they struggled with reaching out to people in the beginning, the fair saw high attendance. “In the end we had like 150 people sign up. And even though it was pouring rain that day, we had about 100 people show up,” Glick said. “We talked to a bunch of parents. They said they had an even better time than they think their kids did. I think it was great for everyone.” 

In the cafeteria, there were many activities to be observed and interacted with. “So the specific events we showed were towers so the kids could build wooden towers and test how much weight they could hold, there was scrambler which was a machine that launched a car with an egg attached to it and the goal is to get as close to a set distance as possible without breaking the egg, there was air trajectory and it’s a machine that launches a handball a certain set distance into a bucket. [We] had a person building small robots and kids got to watch and learn about it. There was also wind power which is [a] propellor that generated electricity from wind. There was an AI station where kids got to learn about AI generated images and attempted to tell the difference between real and AI generated images,” Safanov said. 

The event didn’t just feature information about Robotics and SciOly but also other clubs that focused around STEM. “We also took things from outside the Science Olympiad and Robotics teams.[...]  There’s a group [of students] that's [developed] an AI attachment to a blind cane that can detect obstacles [for a competition called “Solve for Tomorrow”]. So we had them display what they're making there…kind of all the engineering and STEM that takes place at Stuyvesant,” Glick said. 

During a tour around the labs given by the students, the attendees were able to enjoy learning about the teams. “They got to learn about what we do, like our events, about our competitions. [It] was just a really great living experience for everybody and a great, like, participation event,” Safanov said. 

Mindful that their primary audience was younger children and parents who may not be STEM-savvy, Safanov and Glick worked to make the club’s explanations understandable and its activities interactive. “A lot of people, like kids, especially at a young age, it’s really hard for them to understand. So we had to break it down [so] they [could] learn,” Safanov said. “We made the builds a little easier for kids to use because the competition style of SciOly builds might have been a little difficult for kids to use and stay interested [in]. So for certain SciOly events, we had the kids do like diy hands on things but on a smaller scale.” 

The event was very successful, and many attendees reflected positively on their experiences there. “I received feedback from several of the visitors who said that the STEM Fair was really great. It provided an opportunity to see some of the projects and activities that students at Stuyvesant work on,” Thomas said. 

Thanks to the success of the event, the pair desires to turn the fair into something annual. “Using what we’ve learned, we want to make it a bigger and better festival every year. I think it's something that makes sense for Stuy to have. It’s a great thing for the community. It's a great thing for us. I think we'd like it to be a yearly thing,” said Glick. 

In the future, the two students hope that future fairs grow in size. “I [hope to] make it a bigger event, more people, more stations. I mean, we had people in there, they arrived at 1:30 and they left at 4. So people were staying for two and a half hours. There was plenty for them to do. But other people came and went in 15, 20 minutes. So ideally, we'd make it such a big event that people would make it, like, really a whole day event and just have as many people as possible come,” Glick said. “We hope to host the fair again and involve more of the awesome clubs and teams at Stuyvesant and hopefully host multiple events.”