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Watertown Rapids host first STEAM Education Day, show over 1,000 north country students science in baseball

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WATERTOWN — More than 1,000 students, teachers and parents from eight north country schools filled the baseball stadium at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Monday.

As a light drizzle fell and the baseball teams warmed up, a group of tents were slowly popping up in a field to the side, with local agencies and businesses preparing exhibitions for the gathered students.

It was all done for the first annual Watertown Rapids STEAM Education Day, during which fifth- and sixth-graders from around the region were invited to enjoy a baseball game and learn about some of the fundamental forces behind the game and the world around them.

“We’re really excited to be able to tie sports and STEAM, that is science, technology, engineering, art and math,” said Jay M. Matteson, fan experience specialist for the Watertown Rapids and the host of Monday’s event.

The exhibitions included a pitching machine built by Great Lakes Cheese, demonstrating how the mechanics of throwing and hitting a baseball work. The Watertown Daily Times showed students how newspapers, with sports stories and scores included, are made.

National Grid had a booth to show kids how the energy grid powers the bright stadium lights and public address system, and multiple agriculture booths were opened to teach students more about the dairy and farming industries that are so important to the region.

The Watertown fire department was on scene as well with one of its engines, showing off gear and fire safety tips.

Mr. Matteson said the baseball game, featuring the Rapids and Mohawk Valley Diamond Dogs, was also adapted slightly from the usual format, with skits and education baked into the gaps between innings.

“I’m going to do a little skit on photosynthesis and try to make fun out on the field during the breaks,” he said.

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