High school science scholars bring live online Earth Day program to elementary students


Members of the Pelham Memorial High School Environmental Science Club and the Science Research program put together a YouTube live celebration of Earth Day to teach Kindergartners through fifth graders about the importance of taking care of the Earth. The virtual STEAM Earth Day was hosted by science research student Asher Lal on Wednesday and co-sponsored by the Junior League of Pelham.

Dr. Kimberly Riegel helped viewers through three different experiments. Students learned how to make rainbow raindrops, plastic milk and musical instruments.

“We hope these activities give students an opportunity to have fun while they learn at home,” said Dr. Thomas Callahan, director of science and math for the Pelham Union Free School District. “It is our belief that innovation is more than just delivering a curriculum, but showing that we can focus on skills and problem solving above just the delivery of content in a classroom. We hope it’s engaging and something an entire family can enjoy.”

PHMS junior Sophia Leung put together a video featuring the members of the Environmental Science Club teaching students about ways they can help the environment. The club also put together a scavenger hunt with household items that can help or impact the Earth.

Bernadette Russo, a PMHS science research student, talked about her project, which is to create a way to clean our surrounding river. At the end of the talk, Russo took questions using the hashtag #EarthDayPelham on Twitter.

The Junior League of Pelham was looking to expand its STEAM programming with this partnership.

“Our Toddlers in Science program launched last year to introduce STEAM education (taught by JLP members) to preschoolers to great success,” said Lisa Horten, president of the Junior League of Pelham. “This year, we sefd excited to expand the concept to school-aged children and feel very fortunate that the school district was so open to collaborating. The goal of the program is two-fold: To enhance our students’ STEAM learning experience and to showcase female educators teaching kids about science.”

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the originally planned STEAM Earth Day celebrations in Pelham had to be put on hold. The YouTube live event let students continue their STEAM education.

“STEAM Day would have been a district-wide celebration of students’ authentic science and engineering projects,” said Callahan. “It would have culminated with a celebration of that work and students communicating it to parents, teachers and students in other grades. In its place, we hope to have another STEAM Celebration in June.”

“This is an awesome opportunity to give kids and parents a forum to celebrate Earth Day together during this time,” said Steven Beltecas, the science teacher at PMHS who heads the research program. “It gets kids off of electronics and makes everyone involved interact with each other. I know in my house, my wife and children were really excited about participating and thought that our students and the Junior League did an incredible job”