Merrick Academy’s fourth-grade science scores soar

Merrick Academy’s fourth-grade science scores soar
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Naeisha Rose

Two years ago, administrators at Merrick Academy, a K-5 charter school in Laurelton, launched a S.T.E.A.M. program that yielded positive results. For the fourth grade State Science Exam, students at the academy averaged 96.4 percent during the 2016-2017 school year.

These S.T.E.A.M. courses place an emphasis on classes that teach science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in an interactive way, Technology Coordinator Chris Levy said.

“Students have access to laptop computers, iPads, smart tables, and we use different types of media like Final Cut Pro, Adobe, and professional photo equipment to teach the kids,” Levy said. “Earth Day we went outside to grow plants for a garden, and on June 14 we had a S.T.E.A.M. fair to showcase what they learned.”

Students also learned how to make newsreels, they played math games on smart tables, and this year they learned how to use “basic building blocks for coding to make the movements of robots,” Levy said.

They learned music in a digital way by playing the game Rock Band on an Xbox, according to Levy.

At the fair, Farah Zaban, 9, could not wait to showcase her project. Zaban used acetone nail polish remover to destroy a styrofoam plate.

“I learned that the chemicals in the nail polish remover can damage the plate,” Farah. “It made the plate into a gooey substance.”

Farah had Michelle Harrison as a fourth-grade science teacher. Harrison often had the students recite “I can and I will” to motivate them before each class.

“I learned about electrical circuits and the water cycle,” Farah said. “I learned that using the power of conductivity could make electricity work.”

Farah received a 93 on her science exam.

Another S.T.E.A.M. student who was also in Ms. Harrison’s class was Callia Dubois, 10.

“I learned how to measure water in a graduated cylinder, and that when you add a solid object, it increases the level because it takes up space,” Callia said. “I also learned the different states of matter.”

For her science fair project, she used a LEGO robot to crinkle a piece of paper.

“It taught me how the shape of the LEGO can change the paper,” she said.

Callia earned a 96 on her exam.

“I feel very proud,” she said.

Harrison and Levy both took pride in the students’ accomplishments. Before the S.T.E.A.M. program, students had exam grades in the mid-80s.

“Seeing the results and having our science scores reflect that, and to have over 95 percent for two years in a row, is very impressive,” Levy said.

Merrick Academy is located at 136-25 218th St.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.