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updated: 4/23/2012 6:37 AM

District 79 using STEAM to get kids to explore science in after-school club

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  • Fremont Intermediate fourth-grade student Sydney Verdeyen is slightly grossed out while spreading vegetable shortening on a small wreath to make a bird feeder during the after-school science program STEAM.

       Fremont Intermediate fourth-grade student Sydney Verdeyen is slightly grossed out while spreading vegetable shortening on a small wreath to make a bird feeder during the after-school science program STEAM.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Fremont Intermediate students Ella Krauss, left, Sydney Bradshaw and Wonjun Park blow bubbles during the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) after-school program.

       Fremont Intermediate students Ella Krauss, left, Sydney Bradshaw and Wonjun Park blow bubbles during the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) after-school program.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Fremont Intermediate students build a layout with boxes of noodles hoping to knock them down with a dominoe-like effect during the after-school science program.

       Fremont Intermediate students build a layout with boxes of noodles hoping to knock them down with a dominoe-like effect during the after-school science program.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
Fremont Elementary District 79 submission

Jubilee Jhrung loves a good science experiment. To prove it, she meets Wednesdays with about 90 students as a volunteer instructor for Fremont Elementary District 79's STEAM Teams program.

Students in third through fifth grades learn the connections between science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) through a variety of experiments.

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Recently, members of the program used balls to assess how the weight of each affects its descent by using a parachute. At another station, students analyzed how different substances affect the dimension of bubbles.

Students also tested the velocity of different sized balloons, created rocket launchers to determine which design lifts a rocket highest into the air, and tested which paper towel was strong enough to withstand a degree of weight while still producing a cost-effective savings for the consumer.

Using the scientific method, students observe, hypothesize, test, measure, calculate, analyze, and interpret while conducting these experiments.

This is the first year students have been introduced to STEAM, which evolved from STEM, a program designed to help students get excited about math and science.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that our youth are prepared to lead our country in the 21st century and compete in the global marketplace," Superintendent Jill Gildea said.

"In order to do that, we need to provide our children with an education that includes a solid foundation in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics."

Gildea said the STEAM Teams after-school opportunity extends curriculum and encourages students to develop a research project based on the scientific method.

"Building student participation and confidence in STEAM-related activities will certainly lead to success for our learners throughout their educational and working lives," she said.

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