Winter Showcase brings STEM to life

Susan EspirituFountain City

Shannondale Elementary School hosted a Winter Showcase on December 14. Fourth-grade students performed a music program, Santa’s Holiday Playlist.

Shannondale students created a variety of winter-themed creations for STEM: gingerbread houses, snowmen, snowflakes, and 3D ginger creations and winter themed miniature sculptures.

Chasity VanBlaricum, Shannondale’s STEM teacher, describes each grade’s project:

“First through fourth grade students were working through the engineering design process to construct 3D models of snowmen, gingerbread creatures and gingerbread houses while working within set criteria and constraints.

“Fifth grade students planned, designed and created life size gingerbread houses complete with a backstory and scene. These students acquired skills in set design and construction just like the crews in Hollywood or on Broadway would use when creating their sets. As a teacher, I get to help these students look beyond traditional careers and help them see STEM careers in unexpected ways.

“Kindergarten students used the scientific method to discover what would happen if they colored polystyrene plastic and placed it into a hot oven. Most thought it would melt or burn, but they were beyond excited to discover that it shrinks while keeping its design and color.”

Shannondale’s STEM program is fully funded by the parents of the school and is the only elementary school in the feeder pattern that is fortunate enough to offer STEM to students each week.

Shannondale has an annual STEM Gala to help raise funds for the STEM program. It will be on February 24, 2024, at the Press Room.

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