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Draper Journal

Summit STEAM Week allowed students to explore, discover, have fun at home

Jun 21, 2021 12:26PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

A pandemic like COVID-19 isn’t going to stop Summit Academy from hosting its annual STEAM event for students and families, but it did allow it to be delivered differently.

“We’ve always had the event at the school with a theme and activities for students to do and businesses to come support it, so we didn’t not want to hold it, we just decided to hold it as a virtual event over a week,” said Erin Hughes, Summit’s STEM coordinator and sixth-grade teacher.

The at-home STEAM week had a HyperDoc that allowed families to download activities, from making paper helicopters and paper gliders with a straw to providing directions on how to create a chalk flower to multiply the petals. In addition, students in several grades had their art projects showcased.

“We sent home supplies for most of the projects so students and their families had everything they needed,” she said, adding that she also used a couple bags of tiny marshmallows so the students could shoot them into hot chocolate after they created catapults. “We did it in class in the winter and they had a blast.”

While most of the activities were mostly geared for elementary students, Hughes said she heard back that older students and families enjoyed the time together.

“The file was downloaded 284 times, so I felt good about our participation,” she said, adding that some students posted photos of the projects they did. “We sent kits home so these activities could be easily done. We wanted them to know they didn’t need fancy robotics or expensive materials to do STEAM activities.” 

In addition, some teachers held their own STEAM activities in class during the week or talked to students about the ones that they did at home.

“Students are more curious to try things out and are interested in learning new things. I’m a firm believer of hands-on learning and creating those opportunities for students,” she said. “It’s a fun way to learn.”

In addition to teaching activities to students, Hughes also provides trainings and resources for faculty so they can incorporate STEAM into their lesson plans.

“We’ve had students learn about merge cubes to dissecting owl pellets to relate what they discover to themselves,” she said.

Merge cubes are black and silver physical cubes with inlaid designs that interact with the app to transform the cube into a digital canvas where they have been able to see the solar system in their hands, she said.

“It’s exciting and fun for them,” Hughes said. “STEAM week gave them the opportunity to learn and discover things together with their family.”