15 Apr STEAMfest 2016!

As you are kicking your Passover prep into high gear by cleaning the cabinets, changing the dishes, or making your seder plans, the students at Schechter Manhattan are also kicking their Passover prep into high gear. Thanks to the generosity of Eileen and Jerry Lieberman, the Lieberman Family STEAM Center is busier than ever during this exciting time of year!

I have had the pleasure of working on a number of new and returning programs along with the students and faculty at Schechter Manhattan this year, and many elements of the program are in full swing this spring. There is so much to see, do, explore, tinker with, and make at the Lieberman Family STEAM Center and our students don’t want to miss a beat!

This week marked the first ever Schechter Manhattan Maker Fair. A Maker Fair is a gathering of our students in the capacity of tinkerers, engineers, artists, scientists, and explorers working together to make, produce, or understand something new. This year’s Maker Fair was led by our students in Kitah Heh and Kitah ZayinKitah Heh shared the amazing work that they completed during their electric circuits unit and allowed the rest of the school to tinker and play with their inventions. The work included a play-doh keyboard, carnival games and rides, dueling robots and more! Kitah Zayin celebrated the culmination of their unit on the physics of simple machines and Rube Goldberg inventions by displaying their creations at the Maker Fair. Students in all grades had the chance to try out the gumball machine, matzah cutting machine, lemonade maker, karpas dipper, and Mentos explosion machines. Additionally, Kitah Zayin prepared a number of hands on, interactive booths for the students to participate in. The students made their own crystals, learned about stop motion animation, played with green screen technology, and made their own flip book movies. Click here to view the Maker Fair video to see all of these amazing STEAM booths come to life!

Just when you may be thinking “there can’t possibly be more,” there is!  Our second annual STEAMfest is coming up next week in honor of Passover. Last year’s STEAMfest, which centered around the holiday of Purim, was such a huge success that we brought it back this year to help us celebrate Passover. Each grade in the school was given an essential question (see below) related to the work they’re doing during in Jewish Studies classes to get ready for Passover. The students explored these essential questions and used it to inspire their STEAMfest projects.

Gan. Afikomen: Why and how do we hide things?
Aleph. Seder Plate: How do symbols tell a story?- 
Bet. Urchatz/Rachtzah: What are we getting rid of when we clean? 
Gimmel. Hallel: Why and how are we thankful
Dalet. Seder (order) of the seder: How do we keep order?
Heh. Motzi Matza: How does time (or lack thereof) affect our decisions?
Middle School. 10 Plagues: When does disaster become a plague and how can we combat modern day plagues?

These questions have encouraged the students to open their minds and be as creative and innovative as possible. The students went through five phases of the STEAMfest project including a kick-off, brainstorm, research, project planning, and just today, the building phase. Early next week each grade will have a refining phase so that they are prepared to showcase their work on Wednesday during our STEAMfest and model seder. It has been thrilling to see Gan learn how to make and use invisible ink, Kitah Bet make robotic hand washing cups, Kitah Dalet make apps that time each section of the seder and alert you when to move on, and the middle school students come up with ideas to help children and adults all over the world adapt to illness, global warming, and other modern issues. These are just a small sample of the many projects that each grade has been working on.

While the year isn’t over yet, it is clear that we can already say that it has been a huge success at the Lieberman Family STEAM Center! From these two school wide programs, to our elementary school STEAM and coding clubs, to each grade having at least one integrated STEAM unit this year, there is a lot of STEAMyness going on and we look forward to a great ending of year 1 of the Lieberman Family STEAM Center!

Shabbat Shalom,

Sarah Kay
STEAM Coordinator, MS Science Teacher, and Elementary Science Coach

Author’s Chair




Gan is developing ideas for their non-fiction books. Here are a couple of excerpts about what the Gan students are passionate about. 


PrFIshAnls GeT the ChrAFEE (Professionals get the trophy) – writing about soccer



thE Heart Ez RAD (The heart is red) – writing about hearts



I make SCL FOLD it into A CRIaig (I make a circle, fold it into a triangle) – writing about Hamantaschen


PLars Ned PEDs” (Players need pads) – writing about ice hockey

–Ethan B.



The students of Kitah Bet have just completed their month long poetry unit. At our Poetry Jam, each student chose their favorite poem that they had written and performed it for their classmates. They also shared their reasons and inspirations for writing that particular poem.


Iceicols are hanging over my hed. Snow is out the window in my bed. The pond is Frozen so go go go, angels are forming in the snow! Spring is so near the is so clear. It’s time to go no time for snow. because spring is here!


I wrot this poem because wintter is the seasone of poetry fo me. Wintter has a lot of insperation. I have made a wintter poem befor but I like this one a lot better. Thank you so much for reading my poem, I put a lot of hard work and efert into it.




The ice cold chair
so very gold snow
even ling in the lowngechar
fire is berning
it’s so like ashis
diner is ready
smels like pie
is pie
apple pie
that’s in the sky
goldin snow
people know
who will go
to go owtside
and even though
that it is
it is so cold


I made this poem because I took the topic paper and branestormed ides for a winter poem and I didn’t really want to do it and then Renata red her poem and it inspierd me agen.



When the ocean flows
Something hits the land its the blue
waves that cover the sand
and when the ocean flows
the birds sing thats what happens
when the ocean flows all day long


I reading winter poems and one of the poems was about nature and then I thought all about nature and that how I thought about the poem when the ocean flows.



Cozy in bed

warm chikin soop
feles good in my belly
snow out side warm in side
warm nere the fire plooce nice and hot


I rote this poem about winter coz it was winter




Kitah Dalet  responded to the following prompt: “If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?”

If I would woud have any animal as pet I would have a hamster. They are very mushy and playful. When you snuggle you can snuggle with them. I can also build a maze and play with them and play with them like in Humphrey. You don’t need so much food because they drink more water than food. They eat vegetables and little grains so you don’t have to buy food for hamsters. You can just get water from the sink. You don’t have to get water. Hamster are very affordable and easy to to take care of. Hamsters only cost $20 and most pets cost more than that. All you have to do is clean their cage and feed them. These are all the reasons why you should get a hamster.



If I could have any pet in the world, I would get a fish. One reason I would choose a fish is they are cheap. All you need is fish food, a cage, water, and a fish. A fish only costs about $20. They can also be helpful. Since they are so cute, any grateful owner would appreciate to draw a portrait of them or their habitat. Also, many people have written songs or books about fish, which is something that is not only fun, but could get you money. Fish are held in a cage, in which they don’t feel trapped in. That means it will not be messy owning a pet fish. Also, It is a very rare chance they will escape, so the fish will be safe. That is why I want to get a pet fish.



I want a pet Parrot and these are the wonderful reasons why.
I want a pet Parrot because they are easy to take care of.
Thier food is easy to buy because if I have a pet store near your house I could just buy it there.
All I need to do to take care of it is just give it something to eat, somewhere to sleep like a cage, and entertain them.
They come in all different colors that I may like.
They can be really inspiring when I am writing a story and I am stumped and don’t know what to write about.
Also with all the pretty colors on the parrot, I would probably win the ‘most colorful pet’ contest.
Parrots are the only talking animals besides humans.
If you have an annoying brother you could make it copy your brother instead of you.
You could talk to it if you are feeling bored or lonely.
This is why I want a pet parrot.