Russellville Middle School students demonstrate projects at STEM Expo

Russellville Middle School students filled the school gym Feb. 13 for a STEM Expo. Eager to explain their projects, the students were also in competition with each other.

The science department had a science fair; while math and computer science students, along with students from other STEM classes showcased their work.

The school also hosted several area businesses with a STEM aspect to their work as part of a career fair.

Community members got the chance to vote for their favorite display by donating cans of food at the display of their choice. The display with the most cans was dubbed the Community Favorite. In all, the school received 735 cans for the food drive.

“This is wonderful for our kids,” said RMS Principal Tony Bonds. “They developed hypotheses, tested them and came up with a conclusion on their own. I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished and what our teachers challenged them with doing.”

Students described the projects as fun, as well as educational, noting they enjoyed working on them and getting the opportunity to share their findings.

Tristan Ray, along with Raul Salguero, Shasta Phillips and Wendy Barrientos, built a glitter bomb.

“It was a fun experience building it and getting it to work,” said Tristan, “and it was nice working on it together. It’s good knowledge to have, knowing how to build things like this and understanding how this technology works.”

Emalyn Crowe worked on a project about banana molding. “I enjoyed the experimenting,” she said.

Maria Rodriquez said her group’s project, building and learning about a Newton’s Cradle, was “really fun.” “I learned a lot,” she added. “I didn’t know anything about this topic before our project.”

“I learned how to graph linear equations,” explained Jaley Bragwell. “It was fun and nice to learn something new.”

Layla Rush and Lydia Kiel conducted a project about plant growth. Their hypothesis was that feeding plants different types of liquids will result in different levels of plant growth.

“Science is really fun,” said Layla, “and I really enjoyed doing this project with my friends. I learned a lot. I never would have thought that coffee would help plants grow better, but it did.”

School administrators, teachers and other members of the public visited the displays and examined the projects.

“The kids hadn’t had any prior experience with this type of thing,” explained RMS eighth-grade science teacher Lee Brownell. “RMS hadn’t had a science fair since the late ’60s. They got to pick their groups or choose to work alone. I’m very proud of the science they did and their craftsmanship and ownership of their projects.”

Brownell said RMS hopes. to turn this into an annual event, “and we’d like to get the high school involved next year, as well as perhaps add other subject areas.”

He said students did the bulk of the work outside of class.

“This took great initiative from our teachers,” praised Russellville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes. “It’s just great to see this event happen. We are extremely grateful to our teachers and students for their hard work.”

Grimes said Bonds and assistant principal Dr. Monica Moon are doing an “excellent job in creating a culture of excellence.”

“It was a great turnout,” he added. “The students were well-prepared and impressive.”

2023 RMS STEM EXPO WINNERS

Eighth-grade winners:

  • First place: Kelsey Merida, Avery McReynolds and Juana Matias.
  • Second place: Jordan Bautista, Jacey Alfaro, Maria Rodriguez and McKinna Love.
  • Third place: Addison Holcomb.

Seventh-grade winners:

  • First place: Yoana Miguel and Annelise Delgado.
  • Second place: Emmalyn Crowe.
  • Third place: Melissa Soto, Adriana Duran, Natalia Gaspar and Reyna Manuel.

Sixth-grade winners:

  • First place: Layla Rush and Lydia Kiel.
  • Second place: Collins Odom, Zoe Hartsell, Jeliyah Jackson and Avery Willis.
  • Third place: Asher Poss, Jacoby Jones, Porter Bragwell and Pablo Velasquez.

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