We would like to thank the Kutztown Area School District Education Foundation for their continued financial support, whose grant allows this event to operate titled, The Power of STEAM, Art + Science =Progress. It certainly was a terrific event full of (STEAM), science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, which was held in February.

It all started off with the judging of the 5th grade Science Fair presentations. The Middle School Jazz Band performed for the first half of the evening under direction by Carl Zeplin; KASMA was there to quench our thirst and feed our appetite at their food court.

The Exhibits were as follows: Future City with Mr. Aaron Ashman; KMS Science Olympiad and Boyle’s Beasts with Mr. Bernie Boyle; Girls Who Code with Dr. Scott Hand and Cassandra Friehauf; Family Consumer Science with Mrs. Carol Schulley; Kutztown Chapter of the National FFA with Mrs. Celeste Ball and President Ayla Blatt; Technology Education with Mr. Zach Rudy; and the new addition of the Art Education program. Kutztown University Student Chapter NAEA (National Arts Education Association) also came along to advertise a series of community art events on Friday Evenings in Sharadin Arts Building at KU called, Friday Night Outs.

A featured station, the 5th Grade Science Fair, consisted of thirteen projects by twenty-two 5th grade scientists. These projects taught us about the correlation of a cow’s age and her milk production, the best popcorn, everything you’d ever want to know about perch, the Mentos/soda reaction, mold, the longevity of gum flavor, and the relationship between air temperature and air pressure as it pertains to balloon inflation.

Although the scientists log a great deal of thought and effort while experimenting and pouring over data, it is the judges who have the most difficult task of determining which projects earn a trophy out of the many quality projects. The caring and thoughtful scientists and mathematicians who volunteered their time as judges were Sam Bond, Jeff Collier, Justin Dahlquist, Roger Jeffery, Jane Kniss, Nathan Lewis, David Morris, Sue Neumann, Heidi Scarano, and Randy Schroeder.

In the Individual category, first place went to “Dog Scents,” by Emily Bray. Second place went to “Comparing Clones,” by Elise Sica, and “Viscosity,” by Jordan Keller took home third place.

Projects that earned trophies in the Group category were “Which is Warmest?” By Karis Herrlin and Annabel Pfeiler-Wunder - first place, “Bike Generator,” by Jonathan Massie, Otis Engel, and TJ Sherrer - second place, and in third place was “Homemade vs Store Bought Detergent,” by Will and Kendall DeVall.

Thank you to all of the judges. Thanks to the scientists, who taught us not only about their projects, but that Science is fun and rewarding.

In addition, thanks go out to many individuals, too numerous to mention here, but with special thanks going out to Mrs. Betty Imboden, Mrs. Linda Schroeder, all of our judges, our KASD teachers who advised and coached all our students, Owen Kulp for being our MC; our photographers- MS students, Trenton Delp, Jason Heffner, and KU student, Alexa Kastan and to all the parents and families of our young scientists who have supported them from beginning to end.

Last year, Kris Tuerk asked Linda Schroeder if she would like to take her Science and Technology Fair (STEM) to the next level. “How about turning this into a STEAM Festival?” We could incorporate the arts into the program with an opportunity to offer an all-school Art Show. Beyond having samples of student work, created by all the students solidifies what STEAM is: the interconnectedness of all disciplines. Tuerk’s vision became clearer as the idea of art filling the hallways from Office to Commons.

We could also utilize the art and math curriculum to collaborate. The idea of integrating Math and Art was enhanced by creating a fully written and illustrated Accordion Book by each 8th grade student. In the art curriculum, bookmaking provided students the ability to be engaged in storytelling to articulate the content, construct through design, examine visual and spacial learning while creating a choice based product.

Students studied in their math class an understanding of geometric transformations and how they relate to the real world. Taking the four transformation theories of rotation, reflection, dilation and translation, students built an accordion book with 14 pages to graph, write definitions of that theory and then illustrate it in their own style. Guest speaker and 8th grade math teacher, Mrs. Sue Neumann, helped to solidify our understanding and with comprehension, students were able to use any art mediums. Collage, painting, colored pencil, tissue paper painting, marker and pen and ink were just some of the techniques used to illustrate their theories in a way that made the content understandable to the maker. The iPad was also utilized to enhance their research skills to find these theories in visual form in the their real world.

Sue Neumann states, “I am very happy that my students had the opportunity to use math as the content of their art book this year. I was really interested to see how the student interpreted the math concept in an artistic way. Some students stayed close to the more technical or exact math presentation and some took a very artistic approach. I also appreciate that my students had the time to focus on the visual patterns that are so important in math. We don’t spend as much time on visual patterns as I would like in math class.

I benefited professionally as a result of this collaboration with our art teacher, Kris Tuerk. I observed the process that the students go through in art class. It reminded me that students in science class have the scientific method to give structure to their work. Students in art class also follow a process. They learned about the math content, and they learned about book making and many art techniques that they could use. Then they did research, made decisions about how to best present their vision, and complete a rough draft. Finally they created their beautiful books.”

This type of interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to study concepts in multiple classrooms where they see the importance that life is not segregate, but interwoven. “Drake and Burns” (2004).

The success of the art bookmaking and storytelling curriculum has allowed students to use their thinking skills to a much higher level where they articulate, assess, reflect and respond with more confidence. All styles of learners reap the benefit of this teaching strategy. There is a sense of magic in the classroom when students build a connection among the many things they are learning and truly understand the content.

Dr. George F. Fiore, Superintendent of the Kutztown Area School District, stated, “The blend of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) provides our students with a diverse array of skills that will benefit their future career needs. We are proud to emphasize the importance of STEAM education at Kutztown ASD, which is a great credit to our teachers and school board. We are grateful to all who made our STEAM Night a great success.”

With the excitement and success of this STEAM Festival, we’re already looking forward to next year! Come out to see collaboration between Boyle’s Beasts and Science and Art Accordion books. Upon completing their works, 8th grade artists will be reading their science books to elementary students, with the beasts’ in tow!

Written by Middle School Art Teacher, Kris Tuerk, KU Student Teacher Sara Savage-Madigosky, Science Fair coordinator, Linda Schroeder.

comments powered by Disqus