Swampscott High's atrium and field house became a playhouse for gadgets and ideas Tuesday at Family STEM Night.
Upstairs and downstairs high school students demonstrated the versatility of science, technology, engineering and math across the curriculum.
Robotic soccer, floor sailing and catapult demonstrations in the field house generated laughter and interest from younger kids.
The demonstrations showed parents how STEM studies have a place in classrooms including those where students learn about robotics, physical science and history.
Susan Haggerty's students build scale models of catapults when studying ancient history. On Tuesday children catapulted and caught plastic golf balls.
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, the sling-like devices hurled rocks for breaking fortress walls or even catapulted plague victims into enemy territory to spread disease, said the history teacher.
In the atrium, art students drew and painted beneath a poster board that recognized how art and science thrived side-by-side during the Renaissance — from the 14th to the 16 centuries.
Students Colleen Curtis and Leah Khayter worked side-by-side on their projects.
Colleen was making a pastel of Starry Night by Van Gogh and Leah was drawing characters from her favorite video game.
Colleen said the Renaissance opened doors for artists as they discovered concepts such as perspective.
Leah said science and art are both creative activities.
Scientists must experiment with ideas, becoming creative with their methods en route to making discoveries.
Standing nearby, Hadley School fourth grader Jonathan Oriakhi was looking wide-eyed at Leah's drawing of a character from earth and a character from another planet.
Across the hall at the titration and volume and pressure stations, students Anton Kuyuzov and Phillip Cherner answered questions about their lab equipment and demonstrations.
Anton said most of the questions he fielded were about the gadgets he was using such as the Labquest device.
The handheld piece of electronics converts data into graphs and makes calculations.
Regardless of the station, said STEM Coordinator Brandy Wilbur, Tuesday's activities promoted fun and thought.
The STEM program excites students about science, technology, engineering and math.
That excitement inspires them to think about STEM-related college studies and careers.
The STEM Family activities showed families what these students are up to and introduced children to the STEM programming they will study when they get to high school.