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Covered Wagons Carry New Lessons for Merrimac Students

Covered Wagons Carry New Lessons for Merrimac Students photo

A crafty combination of durability and ingenuity steered students to success during a recent activity at Merrimac Elementary School focused on the westward expansion of the United States.

As part of the lesson that explained the historic 1803 expansion that followed the Louisiana Purchase, each fifth-grade class was challenged to design a miniature covered wagon that could traverse a simulation of the rough terrain that pioneers encountered on their journeys. Student groups were supplied with bottle caps, cardboard, straws and tinfoil to assemble a prairie schooner capable of protecting cargo simulated by blocks. 

The covered wagons were led over a canyon, mountains, plains and a river, all while being sprayed by water to represent rain. Following the initial tests, students had the opportunity to revise their designs and attempt to cross the treacherous terrain again. 

Through the covered wagon activity students learned a plethora of additional information, including the journey of Louis and Clark, the details of the Louisiana Purchase, the doctrine of manifest destiny and the countless challenges the pioneers faced. 

 

Merrimac Hosts Inaugural Family STEAM Night

Merrimac Hosts Inaugural Family STEAM Night photo

Parents marveled at countless crafty creations made by students during Merrimac Elementary School’s inaugural Family STEAM Night on April 19.

The family event served as an opportunity for each grade level to showcase a specific classroom project that students participated in as part of STEAM instruction. First-graders created kites, second-graders crafted musical instruments, third-graders made recycled paper, fourth-graders constructed robots from recycled materials and fifth-grade students showed off their Ozobot Olympic course. 

Throughout the building, a number of exciting activities were taking place for families to enjoy. Sachem Aftershock robotics team towed a wagon with one of their past robots, the Sachem Public Library provided STEAM activities for families to take part in and the art room was dedicated to design and construction challenges with Legos. 

In addition to the night’s festivities, the winner of the fifth-grade science fair was announced. Nicholas Prosa and his project that determined if hand dryers or paper towels are a healthier hand drying option will be moving on to the science fair at Brookhaven National Laboratory on May 5. 






Middle School Musicians Share Experience

Middle School Musicians Share Experience photo
Middle School Musicians Share Experience photo 2
Seneca Middle School music students shared their performance experience with fifth-grade musicians from Grundy Avenue, Merrimac, Nokomis and Tamarac Elementary Schools during the annual moving-up music visit. 

The visit was an opportunity for elementary students to become better acclimated to the various experiences they will encounter while practicing and performing on the middle school level. The fifth-grade students were able to ask the middle school musicians questions about their experience, including when they received their instruments, what extra music opportunities are available to them and how lessons are taught in a large group setting. 

Following the opportunity for questions, band and orchestra students separated into their respective ensembles for a large group performance that joined middle and elementary school students together. The band performed “The Great Gate of Kiev” by Modest Mussorgsky and the orchestra performed “Dragon Slayer” by Rob Grice.

Each Sachem middle school welcomes students from its feeder elementary schools for a similar music experience each year.