Dey Elementary third-grade students Catherine Ziemba and Parker Codington knew exactly what they wanted to do for their school’s annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Expo.
“We recently read a book about a hungry heron who got his nose stuck in a soda ring so he couldn’t eat and that gave us the idea to use cardboard and tape instead of soda cans because cardboard disintegrates in the water,” Ziemba shared. “If an animal gets trapped, the cardboard would disintegrate and the animal would eventually get out.”
Now proudly standing in front of their exhibit board, they shared that recyclable-friendly materials could be used in place of soda cans and other beverage containers that pollute the ocean and harm sea creatures.
They were one of dozens of inventions and engineering projects produced by students that fascinated the more than 100 students and parents in attendance. Each guest circulated the room to catch a glimpse of every possible display and interactive station. At one station, students were free to pick up glue bottles and sift through dozens of trays containing items that they could repurpose into “treasure buttons” to add one-of-a-kind pizzazz to their backpacks or clothes.
Community organizations and high school STEM academies were also invited to participate.
Old Dominion University Assistant Professor Dr. Orlando Ayala shared with students how the organization Engineers Without Borders helps communities around the world. They tackle issues such as how to harness solar power when municipal services are not available. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered around the Chesapeake Bay Foundation table to see a collection of species, including blue crabs and mummichogs that guests could view close-up.
Over in the cafeteria, Landstown High School’s Technology and STEM Academy students gave their younger counterparts an opportunity to drive a battery-operated toy car and marvel at an award-winning robot named Tweaky built by the high school’s all-girls robotics team.
Walking away, students were able to take away the big picture from the evening.
“It’s about showing how we can be more sustainable with our resources.”