While the New York Islanders are still on their bye week, 80 students from Clara H. Carlson School in Elmont, Lawrence Road Middle School and Birchwood Intermediate School gathered at Northwell Health Ice Center on Tuesday afternoon for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Day. At the rink, students traded their textbooks for hockey sticks to learn about how math and science intersect with hockey.
"The Future Goals Program is sponsored by the National Hockey League the NHL Players Association and the New York Islanders here locally," Everfi representative Michael Ledecky
Ledecky said. "The whole point of the course is to connect STEM to the game of hockey and get students to understand how science, technology, engineering and math can relate to what they see on the ice and to careers that are related to hockey."
Students were split up among six stations to learn different ways in which science, math, physics and engineering can be applied in the sport of hockey and maintenance of its facilities. The stations were broken down by learning how angles can improve shots on goal, how a Zamboni refreshes ice surfaces, how kinetic and potential energy are used when taking a shot, or face-offs, the effect of ice surfaces, and what each piece of equipment does.
"STEM is just an amazing program in itself because it encourages kids to work together to problem solve," Elizabeth Correll, a teacher at Birchwood Intermediate, said. "A lot of times in school, kids are taught more robotic ways of learning where they're following a specific procedure. With STEM, they have to figure things out. It shows them how to make connections with school and athletics."
For both the students and teachers, having the opportunity to apply the lessons in real-life scenarios helps students comprehend the material and introduce other ways for teachers to explain it.
"More often than not kids are saying, 'How am I going to use this? How am I going to use what you're teaching me?'" Correll said. "I think they're able to make that connection between things they are using in school and applying it to things like this. I also think teams are super important. Kids need to learn how to get along with each other and cooperate."
Rotating through the six stations helped students grasp a better understanding.
"We shot, we learned the angles of your stick, we did face-offs and we learned about kinetic energy and potential energy," fifth grader Michael McGuinness said. "It's applying more science than muscles and just hitting the puck."
The STEM Day was a successful field trip to see the Islanders facilities and leave with valuable insight into their studies and even some nifty Isles gear.
"I didn't realize there was so much science in hockey!" fifth grader Emma Jacoutot said.