Students let off STEAM in creative event


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 3:09pm

Photo by Jim Cornelius

JB Greenwood explained the features of a solar home model at last week's STEM Expo.

Sister Middle School opened its doors to the community last Thursday, sparking creativity and fun in STEAM Expo 2024.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Instead of tackling each as a separate field, STEAM education integrates all of these elements to engage students in inquiry, discussion, and creative problem-solving. The goal is to help students become good collaborators, thoughtful risk-takers, and problem solvers. Advocates of STEAM education note that the paradigm helps prepare students for jobs that don't even exist yet.

And it makes learning more engaging and fun.

There was a lot of fun and engagement to be found at the middle school, with activity stations scattered around the commons and into classrooms. There were art activities, musical performances, and displays of work students have done in science classes.

Eighth-grader JB Greenwood walked visitors through the details of his solar home display, explaining how the orientation of windows maximized natural light and warmth, complementing radiant heat in the floor and a planted roof to insulate the house.

"It took me about four days to make it," he said of the detailed model.

Across the commons, visitors could take a crack at kinetic art - drawing with both hands simultaneously. According to art teacher Judy Fuentes, the purpose of the exercise is to get comfortable with creating spontaneously without having to control the end product. The idea is to find a creative "flow state."

Photo by Jim Cornelius

Third-grader Geneva Van Meter at work on an art project.

Geneva Van Meter, a third-grader, visited the expo and jumped in on the Impermanent Moving Part Collage, which offered up a table full of materials, from feathers to marble and cotton balls, with which artists could create a collage. Some collages might have symbolic meaning to the artist.

"Art is always telling a story," Fuentes said.

Some classrooms hosted science experiments, while the sound of fiddle music from the middle school's strings club filled the air Click here to see related story.

The event had support from SFF Presents, The Roundhouse Foundation, and many parents and volunteers.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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