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This Energy Lesson is a Home Run

Three students playing their game on a carpeted floorStudents went up to bat to learn about the transfer of energy. 

Fourth-grade students at Somers Intermediate School took part in a Challenge Island activity called Home Run Derby as part of their energy unit in science. 

“It was fun,” Zachary Seiden said. “We got to work in a team with people that we might not usually sit with at lunch. We wore color-coded bandanas to see who our teammates were.” 

Challenge Island is a STEAM program designed to engage students through teamwork, problem-solving, and creative scenarios that get students working together, learning, and having fun. This year’s theme was baseball.

“The reason why we did this was to improve our teamwork,” said Eileen Cho. “There was a lot of engineering and thinking involved.”

A student posted for their work on green backgroundStudents came together in randomly assigned groups of four or five to explore the concept of “collision” by designing and building a game that looked at the life of baseball legend and philanthropist Roberto Clemente. After completing the game, students all got a chance to play.

“We got materials to make a board game about baseball,” Ryan Sindel said. “We attached a bat to a popsicle stick and then the pitcher, which was a cup with a ramp, rolled a marble down, and then you hit it with the popsicle stick bat.” 

Poster for a Pinball Home run derby gameIn previous years, Challenge Island has focused on different themes, including having students create a Plinko board and learning to build a bridge out of gumdrops. Every year brings a new challenge that is creative and inspiring.

“It was a lot of fun. I hope to do it again next year,” said Ryan.

“I loved Challenge Island because we could use a lot of our creativity,” added Eileen.