STEM Club gets a tasty lesson in science

Quakertown Community School District  |  Posted on

STEM Club students Richa Chawla, left, and Brooke Alsante decorate their cookies during an event sponsored by Giacomo’s Italian Market.

Members of the Quakertown Community High School (QCHS) STEM Club enjoyed a sweet learning experience after school Monday, baking cookies for the holidays, thanks to Giacomo’s Italian Market.

First, the club’s three sophomore founders – Brooke Alsante, Emily Parker and Phillip Rotzell – gave a lesson about the chemistry of baking in the Library classroom. That was followed up in the Life Skills kitchen, where sugar cookies were baked and decorated, thanks to the generosity of Giacomo’s, which supplied the ingredients and know-how to the students in the hands-on lesson.

“I love doing things like this in the community,” said Kristin Randazzo, who brought her sons Giovanni and Giacomo to the event and helped her mom, Maryann Mann,0. with the baking. “My parents always taught us about giving back, and finding ways we can help. This has been really exciting. Look at how much fun everyone is having.”

Indeed, especially with the expert advice. As Mrs. Mann said, “the secret is to keep the butter cold” when mixing the dough.

“I’d really like to thank everyone from Giacomo’s,” said Kurt Amen, a science teacher, and advisor to the STEM Club. “They treat everyone like family from your first interaction with them. They certainly gave our students a positive experience today.”

Mr. Amen was also “really proud of our STEM crew,” he said. “Our founders set everything up.”

When Brooke, Emily and Phillip began the club in September, each of them knew they wanted to study science in college, but didn’t want the club to be limited by focusing on a specific topic. “General STEM helps us bring in people to explore different interests,” said Emily, who works at Giacomo’s. “We can take in the voice of our members and suggest new topics and create events around them.”

The students previously organized an event on the exothermic reaction of Elephant’s Toothpaste, in addition to an event called Mission to Mars, where students explored architecture, spectroscopy, botany and biology of tardigrades. “They even have a team entered in the Governor’s STEM Competition for this school year,” Mr. Amen said.

Three generations of Giacomo’s owners were on hand for the event, including Madison Mann, Kristin’s niece and a QCHS sophomore.