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Valley Journals

Beehive STEM expo branches out to Sandy Library

Feb 22, 2017 11:06AM ● By Bryan Scott

Logan Lee and Anuhea Kau enjoy the day of the tiger within David Selberg’s virtual reality glasses. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journal)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com
 
Sandy Library hosted a dozen students from the Beehive Science and Technology Academy on Feb. 4 and 9 as they came to show off their technical projects in many different fields.
 
Each year, led by the Beehive Science and Technology Academy, students from all over Utah gather together to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. This year’s fourth annual expo was held at the South Towne Expo Center on Jan. 21, with invitations sent to dozens of middle and high schools for their students to participate and enter projects focusing on math, science and technology. Students at the academy then had the chance to further display their mechanical skills at the Sandy Library on two different nights for another audience.
 
Overseeing the students is Halis Kablan, the academy’s assistant principal and coordinator of the MathMatters programs.
 
“The event is put on by the students as part of their science grade. It’s a student-run event, that’s the main idea,” Kablan said. “It helps them learn how to communicate. At the same time, STEM projects are really the future for them.”
 
Children and adults wandered among tables covered in new tech-like virtual reality headsets, apps to help identify a specific color’s official label and hue, optical illusions, robotics and chemistry.
 
“Most of our graduates go into the science and engineering areas, it’s their passion,” said Kablan.

The idea behind the expo and the subsequent library tours is to show the community what the children are working on at the academy and get them exposed to businesses and jobs where they can best utilize those skills. Despite the snowy weather that day, the STEM expo had a few thousand attendees to support students from all over Utah.
 
Several parents in attendance spoke of their eagerness to get their own children involved with the academy when they get older. The academy accepts students from grades 6–12, and their robotics program starts at the middle school level with First Lego League. The school’s First Lego League team became the Utah Champion in 2016, going on to a world championship in St. Louis.
 
In 2016, the Beehive Science Technology Academy was awarded the STEM Action Center’s Platinum Designation by the governor’s office, along with the Crimson View Elementary School in St. George. The STEM designation is awarded to schools who “demonstrated their excellence in STEM education, including student project-based learning, community partnerships and support for teacher professional learning,” according to the STEM Action Center. While 19 schools were designated STEM schools, only two were given platinum status.
 
“This program helps create an engaging learning environment, in partnership with teachers, principals and a school’s community. It provides students with greater choices and opportunities and helps address the talent needs of Utah’s growing science, engineering and technology companies,” said Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center. 
 
For information about the Beehive Academy, go to www.beehiveacademy.org. For information about the Utah STEM Expo, go to www.utahstemexpo.org.