A Festival of Curiosity: STEAM Works

Youth STEAM Works 012

On June 6th, if you entered on the Bedford Avenue side of the Automotive High School/Frances Perkins HS the signs would direct you inside and up or down the stairs to a variety of amazing projects: a motorized shadow puppet show (kids created the puppets and move them via a motorized controller); a robot art war where kids were guided to build a circuit to power their robots with marker feet that drew on a dry erase board doubling as a floor of a ‘fighter’s ring’, and The Museum of Interesting Things had a display of interesting interactive things. Downstairs there were exciting hands-on feats demonstrating Bernoulli’s Principle.

There was much more to explore of STEAM works once you ventured outdoors if you hadn’t started there in the first place by accessing it from the Nassau Avenue side. Here you could enter the Physics Bus and become a human battery among other things. Physics was just one of the areas of STEAM/STEM covered outside. There were projects in architecture (aided by The Buckminster Fuller Institute) and art (silkscreen a cotton gift bag, or printmaking on paper).

Youth STEAM Works Reyna 017
Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna and Assemblyman Joe Lentol gather with STEAM Works organizer Kate Yourke outside the Physics Bus with Erik Herman and Claire Fox (Executive Director and Director of Education respectively) of The Physics Factory

The printmaking activities were a family affair with Penny Dell (the mom/Artist) Alison Dell (a daughter and artist/scientist who lives in the area) and Jessica Dell (a daughter and lawyer/artist also living in the area). Penny instructed on the silkscreen process (containing elements of science and art). Jessica created a rainbow roller for the paper printing. She mentioned the event was a great way to highlight an immersive hands-on creative form of learning; when kids access projects like this their whole mind is thinking.

The focus of the festival was all about: “Constructing knowledge and enriching meaning through hands-on exploration and discovery.” The event’s organizer Kate Yourke said, “The procedural way that works for teachers does not allow ways to build on learning. When you throw a buffet out where they can work with their hands and that is their learning time.”

A champion of education, Dep BBP Diana Reyna stated, “STEM and STEAM, project based learning is 3 dimensional learning. This is a call to all our partners present here today to help us build a STEAM curriculum so we can invest in our future workforce.

In noticing the activity, Assemblyman Joe Lentol said, “Every kid is having a good time and this is really the way to learn. This event enhances learning, it’s a stimulus: to have been learning while they’re having fun.”

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Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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