Exploring Engineering and the Environment at Commack Road


In an engaging and exploratory engineering workshop presented by the Maritime Museum’s Melora Lane, students at Commack Road designed race cars using recycled materials and math and physics concepts.

The “Let’s Get Rolling” event, part of the Maritime Explorium program, began with a presentation by Lane on how people in Senegal reuse scrap market materials. The students then began a design process, keeping the environmental impact of materials in mind, and created their own race cars with the recycled materials. They also built a ramp to test the cars, designed experiments, measured the distances their cars traveled and kept track of their findings.

Christine LeMaire, whose fourth-grade class participated in the activity, noted that the program’s strength was that it was student-driven. “The Maritime Explorium really made the students become engineers and work on problem solving,” she said.

The Maritime Explorium program, which included an integral professional development segment for teachers, was facilitated by Islip’s Standards of Excellence Committee, a partnership between the school and the community that involves shared decision-making. The Committee’s goal is to promote diverse learning experiences through curriculum instruction to provide the best possible education for the district’s students.

“This program provided our fourth-grade teachers and students the opportunity to incorporate a challenge-based curriculum through STEM,” said teacher and SOE Committee member Ann Hess. “With Maritime Explorium’s professional development and hands-on activities, the Committee felt that it would be an engaging learning experience, built on current New York State science standards.”