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The science of eggs, pasta and Legos on display at Schweinfurt's STEAM night

April 1, 2014

Video and photo by Sidney Harris, USAG Schweinfurt Public Affairs

For families at Schweinfurt Elementary, STEAM stands for using creativity, projects and engineering to create learning.

Schweinfurt, Germany — When most people use the word STEAM, they are probably referring to the gas that appears as they cook spaghetti. But at Schweinfurt Elementary, STEAM stands for using creativity, projects and engineering to create learning. 

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) was on display during the SES STEAM Fest.  Most grade level classes displayed projects that reflected the different standards and units they were covering. 

Kindergarten produced displays on animal habitats and plant development, while some 1st graders had developed computer games that could help differentiate between the properties of life.  Other 1-3 SES projects included developing "igloos" to insulate ice cube "penguins", making symmetrical log cabins, testing the aerodynamics of paper airplanes and developing websites. 

However, the 4th through 6th grade students were not to be left out either.  They were involved with creating Rube Goldberg machines to hit a nail, developing a model house to scale, creating ping pong catapults, inventing self-propelled Mardi Gras floats, designing habitats for endangered animals, testing the effectiveness of a loop airplane and using newspaper to design the most effective marble ramps. 

Creativity is an integral part of the process of STEAM and fine arts teachers filled up the middle of the gym with amazing ceramic projects and self-designed instruments.

While these projects on display were fantastic, they were only one piece of the STEAM Fest fun.  Arranged throughout the gym were over 30 different hands-on activities that students and families could experience with guidance of the SES/SMHS faculty.  These activities ranged from learning about Bernoulli's principle using wind-bags and ping pong balls to learning about Einstein's view of gravity using spandex and marbles. 

Many families also had the chance to enjoy and take mini-tours  of the SES Star Lab, an indoor planetarium, that allows you to explore the constellations and visit planets, stars and even other galaxies.

Four family competitions also gave parents the chance to get involved with the STEAM experience.  Some families experimented using the 3 primary colors to paint the color wheel, while others designed towers of pasta using spaghetti and marshmallows. 

The Egg Drop challenge pitted families against each other to develop a protective shuttle to place their "egg"stronaut.  Given only thirty minutes, most eggs survived the two story drop. 

Developing a Lego car to deploy may have been the hit of the night as students tested out different designs by rolling them down a 20+ meter ramp.

Editor's note: Special contribution by Daniel Wilson. Mr. Wilson is a teacher at Schweinfurt Elementary. 

Story by Daniel Wilson

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