Crashing Paper Airplanes and Twisty Roller Coasters, All Part of SM&SH Day

Flying paper airplanes is usually the kind of activity that gets kids into trouble in the classroom. But this wasn’t the case when a group of six-graders visited campus for the annual Sixth-Grade Science and Math Hotchkiss Day (SH&SH) on Oct. 15.

Niki Gonzalos from Sharon Center School fashioned his plane after a design called “The Lock Bottom”, which had a wider wingspan enabling it to fly farther. But during a test flight, it crashed after colliding with another plane outside Main Building. He didn’t seem to mind as he headed back to the drawing board. “This is great, it’s something we never get to do in school,” he said.

Gonzalos joined other middle school students from area public schools for a day of math and science activities hosted by The Hotchkiss School and led by faculty members and students. 

In the morning, students listened to Instructor in Physics and Engineering Michael Boone in Walker Auditorium, where he introduced them to the basics of roller coaster design and the use of variables and formulas.

During the afternoon, students broke into groups where they learned about different math and science concepts through games, experiments, and crafts, including creating binary bracelets, making origami geometric shapes, and building geodesic polyhedrons.

“I love math and science, Having younger kids here that are interested in it too, it’s just really cool,” said prep Alex Repikov, a student volunteer

Six-graders tested their knowledge about physics by first constructing roller coasters out of hollow foam rolls, then rolling marbles through them.

“Experimenting helps my imagination grows, and I work out ideas I never would have thought of before. It’s different to actually build something rather than draw it out,” said Genevieve Malinowski of Kent Center School, who worked with classmates to create a twisty roller coaster course.

“Basically, it’s just a lot of fun, I love it.”

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