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Curiosity reigns supreme as STEM expo returns in-person

A total of 1,500 Portland Public Schools students are expected to visit the expo between three sites.

PORTLAND, Maine — The sound of children's voices and laughter buzzed through Portland High School’s gym Friday morning.

Young scientific minds from the high school and nearby King Middle School shared their latest projects, alongside some of the state’s foremost universities and companies, at the ninth annual Portland Public Schools STEM Expo. 

It is the first in-person expo since 2019, and several hundred kids got to see their peers’ hard work Friday, while also considering potential career paths. 

Brooke Teller, the district’s STEM coordinator, said these types of sciences have come a long way in Maine’s schools, and students succeed because their interests are top of mind.

"Students are driving the learning through their curiosity and questioning," she smiled. "So, when we see students working on projects like hover machines and exoskeletons, that’s from their curiosity, wanting to figure out what’s going on, and how they can then create it, and then tinker with it after if it doesn’t work right."

This was the first of three expos planned over the next month. It moves to Casco Bay High School on April 6 and Deering High on April 13. All told, 1,500 students are expected to attend.

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