Imagination Takes Wing

RCMS celebrates success of science, technical program


Attempting to figure out who committed a crime with science can be a waiting game as these students found out during a test to see which students’ color would change and reveal the culprit.

Attempting to figure out who committed a crime with science can be a waiting game as these students found out during a test to see which students’ color would change and reveal the culprit. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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In one corner of the Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) cafeteria, a robot toddled about while students at a nearby table built a model airplane out of straws and paper to mimic the Wright brothers’ airplane.

On the opposite side of the room, projects to help explain physics with a color wheel apparatus and a bicycle wheel kept kids engrossed.

Teachers Scott Davidson, Barbara Quinlan, Marlene Armstrong, Mike Ellis, Mike Buskirk and Diana Fletcher actively helped students put together projects and answered lots of questions.

On Tuesday, April 30, more than 100 students and their parents attended the kick-off event for a new grant funded science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program at RCMS.

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Josh Hatt (left) gets instructions from AP physics teacher Michael Ellis as Ellis spins a bicycle wheel as fast as possible to display its properties as a converted gyroscope. It worked, but Hatt said it was hard to hold because is was so heavy.

Armstrong, who organized the event, was beyond pleased with the attendance, especially as Joelle Clark, one of the Northern Arizona University (NAU) grant administrators was in attendance.

“I thought we’d be lucky to have 20,” she said as she handed out raffle tickets for prizes such as lunch at the Pizza Factory, “But I told parents to come and have a snack while they watch their kids play.”

Chili’s Restaurant provided chips and salsa for the parents to munch as they watched their children who ranged from kindergartners to seniors in high school wander the room to explore various science projects.

During the event, Clark presented a plaque to the middle school teachers to honor their receipt of the grant. As one of 12 schools awarded, RCMS will receive help from Arizona Public Service and NAU to help plan and implement a STEM program.

“RCMS is the only one (school) from Gila County,” said Clark, “they will become a STEM focus school.”

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