STEM Students Go On-Site

Princeton City Schools started from scratch to build a new middle school and high school campus and are making it bigger and better. While most students only get to see the finished product, a few were able to see what it looked like under construction. They toured the unfinished portion of the campus, Viking Village. These 9th grade students are from a new program at the high school called STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Technology Education teacher, Brian Lien, led his students on this mini field trip.

“We just finished a civil engineering unit [in STEM technology], and for the students to be able to see the bones of the building was pretty cool. They could actually see what is hidden behind the walls and everything that is involved in creating a structure of this magnitude,” said Lien.

STEM students view internal structure of job site.
STEM students view internal structure of job site.

Four STEM classes went to the Viking Village job site. They all had to put on the proper safety gear—hard hats and safety glasses—before entering the construction zone. The alternative to tracking through the mud came in the form of plastic grocery bags tied over shoes. Students got a real feel for what architects and engineers experience when they work onsite.

The tour took them to the unfinished lobby area, basketball arena, pool, music wing, and the theater.

STEM students start tour of Viking Village job site.
STEM students start tour of Viking Village job site.

“I look forward to going to basketball games with the new gym,” said 9th grade STEM student Georgia Frechette. “It has two levels and is going to be great!”

The basketball arena is not going to be the only thing that gets bigger. The pool and music wing will be larger.

“I was surprised how big everything is and I’m really impressed with the design,” said 9th grader Miles Douglas.

Viking Village will be an impressive addition to the school campus.

“The school will look better and people will respect us more with the size of our new facility,” said 9th grade student Ashish Chhetry.

Lien teaches STEM students about the engineering that goes into creating such a massive structure. In class the STEM students built small-scale versions of boom crane arms, which are constructed with two trusses to hold them together. They had the opportunity to see the same type of structure in the basketball arena during their tour.

STEM students on the field trip got to take part in a special ceremony. Each student was allowed to put their autograph on one of two large steel beams. They will be the last beams that will be put into place in the lobby, and is known as “topping off.” After that, no more steel work will be needed and the bones of the building will be complete.

STEM students put their mark on the final beams.
STEM students put their mark on the final beams.

“The STEM middle school and high school students were the only students that got to see the Viking Village construction site.” said Lien. “They were also the only ones to sign the beam.”

This was definitely not your typical field trip. It allowed the kids to be able to see how the last addition to the high school and middle school campus was constructed. When these students enjoy a basketball game in the new arena, attend a play, or swim laps, they will be able to know what is on the inside of the building and between the walls.

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