Israeli tech minister lauds MDS STEM


Manhattan Day School students took a break from constructing Rube Goldberg machines and programming Sphero robots to welcome Israel Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis last week.

“The students were really eager to present their work to the Minister and demonstrate what they learned over the course of the year,” said Elisha Hus, director of educational technology.

“I used the Vernier light sensor to find the intensity of light on other planets on a smaller scale,” said eighth-grader Leah Roth. “I was excited to have the opportunity to present to Mr. Akunis.”

“My partner, Avi Herman, and I, coded an Arduino, which is a type of microcontroller,” said eighth-grader Eitan Weinberg. “The Minister commented that he thought the project was very interesting and he hoped we pursued future endeavors using the Arduino in many other activities.”

Akunis participated in a roundtable discussion about STEM education with Head of School Raizi Chechik, board members, and professional leaders from the community and from the Orthodox Union’s Teach Advocacy Network. He then engaged in interactive presentations by MDS students from grades 2 to 8 in the school’s Smart Lab before addressing the Middle School division. Akunis spoke about Israel’s development into a powerhouse for innovation, and commended MDS students for their achievements in STEM.

“I have visited many schools and I am particularly impressed with the way technology is taught in tandem with Torah at MDS,” he said. “I will go back to Israel and speak of Manhattan Day School as a role model for bridging the past with the future.”