Brody Burke, 8, explains his science experiment display for growing gummy bears in a glass to Nancy Anthony at the annual STEM Expo at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Parents, students and teachers gather for 2019 Oak Hills Elementary STEM Expo

While some showcased their work to their parents and others built mechanical robots with Legos, the 2019 Oak Hills Elementary STEM Expo was a night filled with enthusiasm and educational opportunities Friday night.

Annually co-hosted by the Oak Hills PTA and Oak Hills Educational Foundation, the school’s weeklong science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program annually concludes with the expo, giving parents and teacher an opportunity to view the various robots, computer programs and scientific experiments students have worked on since the beginning of the school year.

Students snap their fingers as they replace the name “Addam’s” with the word “atoms” as they sing the Addam’s Family theme song on stage at the at the annual STEM Expo at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“(The expo) is honestly great because you now have students who can go into a class and say, ‘Bam, I’ve got this!’” said Krystain Rutledge, the manager of Bricks 4 Kidz, an education program that visits the school during the week to teach classrooms full of students engineering through the use of Legos. “And this student can just all of sudden show me something new.”

Family members toured the multi-purpose room and read close to 150 poster boards, which detailed each individual student’s STEM project, from it’s hypothesis to research to execution. K-6 classmates were also called to the stage to receive trophies based on how the judges ranked the merits of their scientific research and work.

Makayla Salazar, 8, left, and sister Aliyah, 6 display their engineering trophies at the annual STEM Expo at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I wanted to see if frozen seeds could grow and they could not” said Veronica Sanchez, an Oak Hills Elementary school 2nd grader who had won 3rd place for her category. “My hypothesis was correct.”

As Sanchez admired her trophy engraved with her name, her mom said she supported her daughter through the scientific process, which began in October of last year, because it’s important for young children to begin their interest in STEM fields early on.

“It’s ingrained in our family because my husband is civil engineer and I am a mathematician,” said Sanchez’s mother, Gina Angueyra. Angueryra smiled as her daughter added that she too wanted to be an engineer when she grew up.

Veronica Sanchez poses for a photo with her trophy by Gina Angueyra at the annual STEM Expo at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

And it wasn’t all trophies and poster board reading. A slide show that features the classroom science instruction at Oak Hills was shown at the front of the room, while students in the back of the room built their own miniaturized, custom Lego robots from kits.

As the evening came to a close and poster boards were folded up and put away, students could be heard talking to their parents as they walked out about what they would do next year that would “blow people away.”

Sixth-grader Ethan Dekker, left, demonstrates engineering project, a hydraulic, robotic arm for Aidan Panicacci, 12, at the annual STEM Expo at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

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