MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Last week, the Mahopac School District held its second annual S.T.E.A.M. Fair at Mahopac Middle School. S.T.E.A.M. is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

S.T.E.A.M. is the integration of these disciplines that allows students to develop the ability to think outside the box and to use their knowledge and skills from these multiple areas to create new products, solve existing problems and meet the needs of an ever-changing society.

Students of all ages were able to participate in a variety of hands-on S.T.E.A.M. activities that encouraged them to build, create and problem-solve.

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“It’s the science fair of old, but we have really opened it up,” said middle school principal Vincent DiGrandi. “We have a young lady who has done some coding, which is really fantastic. We have a kid in our school who has already [created] his own app. We have two young ladies who did a project on erosion. So, we’ve really evolved into a higher level of project and there’s a high level of investment into what they’re doing as well.”

The teachers say they’re happy to see students take what they’ve used in the classroom and find practical applications for their lessons.

“It’s fantastic to see the kids applying what are talking about in the classroom to everyday life,” said eighth-grade science teacher Kerry Tarintino. “Some of the projects are so innovative that it’s staggering.” Tarintino also noted that by adding an art component to the fair, the event has been opened up to students who may not excel in math and science.

DiGradi said the students did their due diligence and researched their projects extensively.

“They own their projects,” he said. “They come up with the hypothesis. They tested it. You talk to some of the kids about what they’ve done and they’ll talk to you for 20 minutes.”

School Superintendent Dr. Dennis Creedon said that the S.T.E.A.M. Fair encourages learning because it makes learning enjoyable.

“They demonstrate that science is fun,” he said. “Today, we had over 400 families and children here having a good time. It’s been a fun day and our students are demonstrating that not only are they futures scientists, but they are totally proficient where they are today.”