By Megan Hartsell

On May 21, students of all ages gathered once again at Ellicottville Central School for an evening of STEM fun at the annual science exposition.

“The Science, Math, Tech EXPO gives students in grade K-12 the chance to showcase work they are doing in school as well as on their own,” explained organizer Chris Edwards.

Students did just this, providing the community with an impressive showcase of exhibits relating to anatomy, chemical reactions, engineering and more. 

Upon first entrance, expo-goers were greeted by chemistry student Madisyn Kilby and her project, elephant toothpaste. Her concoction of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, water and yeast drew spectators in the door with its oozing and bubbling eruption. Students marveled as the suds overflowed to create a humongous paste, large enough for an elephant.

Under the direction of Edwards, high school engineering students constructed a more than 50-foot-long circuit made from items designed and printed from a 3D printer, as well as conveyors, dismembered piping and metal structures.

“It was a lot of work and took a lot of troubleshooting to put together,” said Bryce Butler.

Edwards said, “Each year the engineering class designs, builds and programs robots for competition and for the EXPO. We use the Tetrix robotic system and ROBOTC from Carnegie Mellon to program the robots. We usually start the project sometime in January.”

The grand and impressive nature of the circuit left parents and students alike astounded by the talent of ECS engineering students, which was surely a highlight of the evening’s exhibits. 

Groups of elementary students bounced jubilantly from exhibit to exhibit, proudly displaying to on looking parents their homemade slime, glitter jars and neatly folded paper airplanes.

Upon being asked her favorite station, 2nd grader Ella exclaimed, “The tonoscope,” which was a project created by the first grade class to demonstrate how sound waves travel. Young students squealed with delight as their hums sent grains of rice flying through the air.

As a traditional finale to the evening, Helena Brierton’s Earth Science students tested the egg-protecting capabilities of their egg drop projects. Freshmen and sophomores eagerly waited for their turn to ascend 80 feet above the ground in Ellicottville Fire Department’s tallest ladder truck.

In addition to the fire truck, participating students also had the opportunity for their designs to be fired from an air cannon, a new feature to this well-known tradition. The designs of Courtney Sexton and Adam Delity were successful from the fire truck. Clayton Rowland, Hunter Bomberry and Logan Dimpfl’s survived from the air cannon and Victoria Provorse’s was able to survive both.

Brierton spectated proudly as her students celebrated their exciting successes — or picked up the sticky leftovers from the pavement.

ECS’s annual STEM Expo was definitely one for the books. The evening was a highlight of the natural talent and intelligence of our very own students, who yet again have outdone themselves in impressing the community.

As the school year winds down, the STEM Expo was a “grand finale”of the year’s activities before preparation for finals begins. Made possible by ECS’s passionate and dedicated teachers and administrators, the Expo was enjoyable for all, and is eagerly awaited for next year!