Students Discover Their Science Niche

Students with an interest in STEMM fields don't necessarily need to be enrolled in CJ's nationally certified Project Lead the Way curriculum for exposure to valuable learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.

During the first week in March, a group of students taking environmental and physical science courses with teachers Caty Maga and Jessie Hanley helped younger students from around the Miami Valley learn how to be energy efficient at this year’s Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) and Vectren Energy Fair.

"The topics being discussed at the fair were the same topics that my students are learning about in class," Hanley said. "I wanted them to apply what they had learned and teach it to someone else so that I knew they had mastered the material."

More than 600 students from area schools attended the Energy Fair facilitated at the University of Dayton by the Ohio Energy Project. CJ students helped lead and teach lessons on topics including light and sound, kinetic and potential energy, insulation, electromagnetic waves and efficiency.

“The Energy Fair was a big success,” said DP&L’s Kara McMillen. “It was one of our largest crowds to date and the students and teachers were very engaged and energetic.”

Another group of CJ students has been leading the resurgence of the school's Science Olympiad team, said Hanley. She and fellow science teacher Matt Fuhs stepped in to coach the Eagles this school year. The team, open to all students, practiced together once each week after school to prepare for competition.

"We wanted to give a niche to kids interested in science and expose them to more science topics," Hanley said. A majority had never been involved with a team before high school, she added. Science Olympiad competitions combine knowledge-based questions and performance challenges to test students' smarts across several different disciplines.

This year's 11 members recently placed eighth at the Ohio Science Olympiad Regional Tournament on March 15 at Piqua High School (pictured below). They also participated in an invitational tournament in New Albany, Ohio in late February. Although the season is complete, students interested in joining next year's team can contact Mr. Fuhs or Ms. Hanley.