STEM potions

Mason Swanson of Smethport and Gianna Glasgow of Port Allegany are shown mixing “Laughing Potion,” an imaginary potion, which is a mixture of “Dragon’s Blood,” (dish soap) and “Wartcap Powder” (baking soda) and drops of veritasserum. Results of the chemical reaction were recorded.

SMETHPORT — Thirty-four students from McKean, Cameron and Elk counties attended the seventh annual Intermediate Unit 9 STEM Academy Monday through Friday at the educational agency’s offices in Smethport.

Students entering the fourth to seventh grades from Bradford, Cameron County, Kane, Otto-Eldred, Port Allegany, Ridgway, St. Marys and Smethport, along with with one visitor from Maryland attended the academy that had a Harry Potter theme: “The Magic of STEM: A Journey Through Hogwarts and STEM.” Daily sessions were held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

STEM education is a curriculum that teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an interdisciplinary approach rather than as separate subjects, while emphasizing real world applications.

Students received Hogwarts/IU9 “acceptance letters” in the mail.

On Monday, students arrived at Platform 9 3/4, located at the IU9 building on South Mechanic Street and received their ticket for the Hogwarts Express. Once inside, they visited the “sorting hat” to be placed in one of four Hogwarts houses, which remained their groups for the week.

The week’s schedule was “Monday: Day of Science; Tuesday: Day of Design Challenge; Wednesday: Day of Code; Thursday: Day of Programming; and Friday: Day of Arts.”

Besides the daily activities and lessons, students had opportunities to choose elective classes in Charms School, Potions Class and Hogwarts Kitchen.

Each day, the students spent time working on their interactive game starting with characters, settings and programming.

Parents were invited to attend Friday afternoon’s session for the STEM Showcase when the students shared their work and treats from the week.