STEAM DAY 2022 at High Point!

HIGH POINT’S TEACHERS AND STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN STEAM DAY

By Norma Richman

The first ever STEAM Day at High Point Academy promises to become an annual affair, highlighting the quality programs presented by the science, math and arts teachers.

According to most educators, STEAM is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics to foster student inquiry and critical thinking. Originally STEM, the Arts were added to the acronym when it was recognized that experience in the arts produces more well-rounded, thoughtful students.

Mrs. Krista Huezo, High Point’s junior high science teacher, coordinated the day-long program: “It was awesome to see the collaboration happening amongst the teachers and the students. My junior high volunteers did an amazing job running all of the activities for the elementary students. Their patience and leadership shined through!” Mrs. Huezo kicked off the day with her “Paper Horse Races”—seeing whose paper horse could reach the finish line first based on the most effective incline of the track.

Half a dozen specialty teachers and HPA’s fifth grade Girl Scouts designed lessons, while 7th and 8th grade volunteers kept the show going, shuffling from room to room to make sure things ran smoothly. And special T-shirts for participants were designed in-house by seventh grader Jessica H.

Math specialists Teo Cutter and Stefanie Gangl offered complex games as the challenge. Mr. Cutter’s “Tower of Hanoi” was a mathematical game of discs that required logical thinking and sequential reasoning, and the participants in Mrs. Gangl’s room worked on a “Tetris Blocks Race”— a strategy puzzle game where seventh graders faced off against students in different grades.

STEAM teacher Mrs. Taylor Morgan introduced “Come Fly with US”, designed to teach students how to make modifications on paper airplanes to test for accuracy and distance. And Dr. Jeffrey Flagg, Director of Technology and Innovation, provided workspace and materials for his “Light the Light” experiments on building a simple circuit using a battery, copper wire, and a light.

The musical arts part of the program was represented by Mrs. Doris Wang, High Point’s music teacher, who set up Glass Harps and Pan Flutes, allowing students to build a pan flute from straws and test it to make different sounds. Wine glasses filled with different levels of water were set out so students could run their fingers around the rims of the glasses to get them to make a sound, discovering how different glasses vibrate at different pitches based on the level of water. And Visual Arts and Design teacher Zach Davis introduced the students to “Robotic Orb Art”, using ‘sphero’ robotic orbs controlled by an iPad to create art. The entire school contributed to these art canvases, which ended up resembling Jackson Pollock paintings. 

Rounding out the day was a special project spearheaded by High Point’s fifth grade Girl Scouts, who were working on new badges. The “Tower Engineering Challenge”— who could build the tallest structure using spaghetti noodles and marshmallows— required students to overcome different obstacles, such as time constraints or earthquake-like conditions.

Mrs. Huezo noted how easily everything came together for students and teachers alike. “I was thrilled that STEAM Day was a huge success! Shifting from Science Night this year, I was excited that all of the elementary grades could participate in our new STEAM event.”

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