STEAM Club introduces new way of learning

May 24, 2017 — by Ava Hooman and Patrick Li

As pink goo oozed out of a Jack-O-Lantern’s gaping mouth, a wave of amusement passed through the crowd in Chemistry teacher Janny Cahatol’s classroom. The goo was a result of mixing Hydrogen Peroxide with a catalyst, speeding up the decomposition process and producing a large mass of water and oxygen.

This was just one of many demonstrations by the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Club during their meetings this year.

Juniors Ashna Panchmatia and JR Im founded the club  after they saw that the school lacks a place where students can create hands-on science projects that are both fun and informative.

“I was exposed to a lot of science activities as a child, but as I was growing up I realized that not every kid got the same opportunities as me,” Im said.

Im and Panchmatia planned to create this club in last year, but did not make the deadline. Over the summer, the two started planning events and activities, and also applied for funding from the American Chemical Society, which has become their primary sponsor after donating $300 to the club.

Wednesdays during lunch, the club meets to work on projects.

To make each one as meaningful as possible, STEAM has six other club officers that represent its different departments: science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. (Art has two officers.)

Sophomore Colleen Feng, who regularly attends club meetings, plans on pursuing a STEAM-related field when she is older and finds the activities highly beneficial.  

“The activities are interactive and, and the club never repeats anything, so there is always something new that we learn,” Feng said.  

In addition to maintaining an active presence at school, STEAM also tries to reach out to the community by holding programs for children.

Recently the club hosted an event at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco where they spoke to over a thousand children.

They performed two science experiments: a coffee filter chromatography demonstration and another involving the exploration of weight distribution via a miniature boat.

“It was extremely rewarding to do the experiments because I could see the children really enjoyed them,” Panchmatia said.

In the future, STEAM club plans to expand beyond Saratoga into San Jose and even seek non-profit status as an organization.

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