Last month, Purdy Elementary hosted its first annual STEAM Night (science, technology, engineering, art and math) event. I had the fun of being a kid, camera in hand, learning all sorts of things which weren’t even a glimmer in Flash Gordon’s eye during my days at that age.
I was particularly happy to note that “art” has been inserted into the hitherto-fore all-consuming STEM programs. Hey, Leonardo was a scientist AND an artist!
“The goal was to inspire students to want to learn more about STEAM and to help families know what is available in our community,” said teacher Gaylene Peterson.
Students were able to try out several STEAM challenges. They hung out with robots and learned about STEAM resources available in the community like Bricks For Kids, Harbor Code Academy, Camp Inventions and Apprentice Academy, all of which were showcased to inform the community of available after school programs and summer camps.
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For fourth-grader Mackenzie Boyd, “It was really enjoyable! My sister liked it, my neighbor liked it, my dad liked it and I liked it! I think it is a good idea to learn math, art, technology, science and engineering. I really like the engineering part.”
“I liked the blind contour art (from Apprentice Art),” said fifth-grader Ari Deleon. “I also liked the robotics and Minecraft lab. It was great!”
“It was fun,” said second-grader Justin Dennis.
“All the science experiments were really cool,” he said. “I liked making Play-Doh that would light up lights. The Harbor Code Academy summer camp will be fun. I’m excited to build my own mini computer!”
Mind you, these are the words of a second-grader.
Harbor Ridge Middle School seventh-grade volunteer Grace Cook is “excited to see girls interested in technology at a young age. It is good to see young girls getting into coding and technology. Maybe some will make a career of it in the future.”
“At Purdy, we are beginning to focus more on STEAM,” Principal Kristi Rivera said. “STEAM proficient students are able to answer complex questions, investigate global issues and develop solutions for challenges and real world problems while applying the rigor of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in a seamless fashion.
“It was encouraging to see so many of our families and community members show such an interest in STEAM,” she said. “We continue to learn, grow, and inspire our students in this area.”
STEAM Night was a joint effort of Purdy PTA and Harbor Code Academy, with volunteer parents, students from Harbor Ridge Middle School’s Leadership Class and Gig Harbor High School’s STEM club, WTSA. The event was well attended and organizers hope that it becomes an annual tradition.
First-grade student and winner of the grand prize robot, Kenley Jarrett, said of STEAM Night, “It was awesome!”
It was, indeed!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.