Students' tech savvy on display Tuesday at Highlands

Using Bee Bots, Puzzlets and Snap Circuits, Highlands students of all ages will be showing off their science savvy during a free event Tuesday.

The Technology Showcase highlights innovative lessons that students experience each day in the classroom through technology, engineering and computer science, said organizer Andrew Lynch, a teacher at the elementary and middle schools.

In daily lessons, Lynch works to advance the youngsters’ passion for science, technology, engineering, art and math, also called STEAM.

“The students are the real stars of the show,” Lynch said. “Our goal is to have them interact with the technology and show off their skills to the parents.”

Student volunteers will demonstrate hands-on interactive stations that are used by classes throughout the district, from first grade through high school.

Residents are welcome to the May 17 event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the elementary school along East Ninth Avenue in Tarentum.

Lynch has partnered with Remake Learning Days, a movement that seeks to inspire creativity, perseverance and curiosity.

Remake Learning Days is a roving festival of more than 1,400 events hosted by groups across the nation. It is an outgrowth of Remake Learning, a network established in Pittsburgh in 2007 through The Grable Foundation. Hands-on and engaging, the events are pegged as educational experiences for students as well as their families.

Students' tech savvy on display Tuesday at Highlands

Some of the flashy-named displays sure to impress will include the how-to’s of Finch Robots, Micro Bits, K’Nex, Ozobots and Earth Time.

Teacher Marcie Wallace said the event is a fitting way for students to show off their skills.

All year long, her fifth and sixth graders participate in the Inventionland education innovation curriculum modeled after the creative process used by its namesake design hub in RIDC Park in O’Hara.

“My students have surprised me every nine weeks with the work they do,” Wallace said. “From the first step of creating an idea to the last step of putting it all together.”

During the Inventionland course, students work individually or in small teams to brainstorm an idea before proceeding with research, construction of a prototype and marketing.

“At the end of the course, students compete with their invention at an in-person or virtual competition where they pitch their invention to a panel of judges,” Wallace said.

She said the process builds creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills.

In addition to Wallace, district teachers Laurie Malcolm, Becky Mentecky, Laura Proano and Kristine Hrivnak assist Lynch with the year-end tech presentation.

This is the second time students have had a public platform to show off their skills. Lynch hosted a tech showcase in 2019, but it was put on hiatus the following two years because of the pandemic.

Despite the time off, the event has grown from 10 students to 26 who are scheduled to demonstrate the displays.

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