“Investigate” Students and Technology and Engineering Honor Society Work Together

Work Together photo

Northport-East Northport’s Junior Solar Sprint competitors held their first meeting on Jan. 25. This competition, available to students for the first time this year, is open the district’s fourth-graders in the “Investigate” program. This program is currently comprised of approximately 20 students who all show an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At each meeting, student-teams will work together towards the goal of creating the fastest and best-crafted solar vehicles possible. In order to make this possible, teams were matched with a “mentor” from the high school’s technology and engineering honor society. In June, teams will compete in an island-wide competition at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. In this competition, students are judged not only on how fast their creations can move, but on elements such as creativity, innovation, quality of work, and more.

During their first meeting at the high school, teams went through the beginning stages of creating their solar-powered vehicles. Students sketched out plans, cut and soldered materials, and started to construct their vehicles—all with their mentors by their side, guiding them.

“I like that we’re getting to do something that we don’t normally do in class,” said Jillian, a fourth-grader from Norwood, as she hot glued an axel to her project. “And when we mess up, we get to keep trying until we fix it.”

“And in a way, sometimes we learn more when we mess up,” added Jack, a junior at Northport High School, who was one of the volunteer mentors for the program.

Northport-East Northport staff members Fran Bertos and Brianne Furstein, the “Investigate” program facilitators, worked with high school technology teacher George Searing and District Chairperson of Science and Technology David Storch to make this program into a reality.

“It really is an invaluable opportunity for these students,” said Mr. Searing. “and it’s a rewarding experience to watch our volunteers eagerly share their knowledge with young students who are clearly hungry for it.”