Pascack Pi-oneers help children build solar lights

By Hanna Kimball


Pi-oneers helping students assemble their lights. Photo by Hanna Kimball

On Dec. 8 the Pascack Hills cafeteria was filled with children eager to learn at STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Night Out. Led by the Pascack Pi-oneers, these students would soon learn about engineering through the creation of their own solar light. As the Pi-oneers put it, these students, ranging from third to eighth grade, would be able to “Make, Take, and Learn!”

After a quick dinner, the students listened to a presentation from Hills’ science teacher Natalie Macke. She is involved with robotics team and really helped them create this evening. Through this presentation they learned about the schools in South Africa that Macke visits and teaches. The money earned from this event will help the Pi-oneers collaborate with and support the Sakhikamva Foundation in South Africa’s efforts to start a robotics team.

Macke visited South Africa and has done this workshop three other times. While there, she met Fatima Jakoet, who came to visit our school and met the Pascack Pi-oneers in late September. This allowed the Pi-oneers to work with Jakoet to create a new robotics team.

After the presentation, the students went into science classrooms where they learned how to create their night light. They assembled these lights using a difficult electrical technique called soldering. This involves melting solder to connect wires using a soldering iron. With the assistance from Pi-oneers, all the students were able to create this useful light.

Macke said that to her, “…watching the kids to the assembly of it…was the most fun.”

Senior Kayla Vincent helped run this event. She said, “The night was a success, and participants were excited by the project they made. It was rewarding for them to be able to test their soldering and see the lights work!”

A sixth grade student, Alana, who attended this event, said, “STEM night was a great interactive and interesting program because we were able to build and solder. I had a really fun time and hope I can go to another robotics event.”

The Pi-oneers are always involved in the community and host many interesting events for children such as this. Click here to learn more about this team and their upcoming events!