ST. ALBANS — Students from four area middle schools participated in a science, math, technology and engineering fair and competition Wednesday at Northwest Technical Center.

About 150 students from Missisquoi Valley Union Middle School, St. Albans Town Educational Center (SATEC), St. Albans City School and Fairfield Middle School participated in competitions involving engineering and design in an effort to grow science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills for middle school students.

“I feel like I see excitement. I see engagement, I see curiosity and I see skill development,” city school Team USA teacher Matthew Bresler said, adding that the social connection and teamwork developed during the activities also bring out the best in the students.

The all-day event included morning presentations, demonstrations and competitions in teams of 2-4 students, with sixth, seventh and eighth graders participating in one of five events in morning and afternoon sessions. Awards were given in a ceremony at the end.

SATEC students build robots

Shauni Ross, left and Ashley Hennes of SATEC create “art bots,” drawing robots that use a small motor to spin and move.

Bresler said the direct line from STEM development in public schools to success in higher learning is an obvious one.

In the expo’s third year, the 150-plus students participating was the highest turnout they’ve seen. Students sat behind computers in a materials engineering competition in one room, while in another students designed drawing robots using plastic cups and foam pool noodles. Another category even involved creating edible miniature racing cars. Toy design, Web app design and bridge construction were among the other events.

In the end, SATEC students accumulated the most points in the events.

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