The Lower School STEAMlet Expo was originally scheduled to take place March 13, the first day of Nueva’s campus closure.
“We were all ready for the expo,” Lower School science teacher Elena Stamatakos recounted. “We had a committee of parent and faculty volunteers, we had lab coats and clipboards ready for them, and the student projects were all complete.”
The Lower School STEAMlet Expo is an opportunity for students in prekindergarten through fourth grade to showcase their love of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and apply their skills to experimentation around a topic about which they are passionate. It began last year when Elena noticed that the larger all-school STEM Fair was focused more on the Upper and Middle Schools.
While the event could not be held in person this year, it did move into a virtual space, with Lower School Division Head Megan Terra leading the efforts. Megan emailed Lower School parents with a call for STEAMlet project submissions via email. Submissions included photos, videos, and write-ups about student projects. These submissions were turned into the virtual expo located here, and readers can meet nature's great engineers, explore the science of fluorescence, and see mathematical patterns take shape.
The projects students created were impressive and creative, and included The Science of Paper Airplanes, Building a Home Computer, and Menger Sponge Fractals & 35 Octodecillion (10^57) Blocks.
At a recent Lower School community meeting, the group played a trivia game, drawing from the students’ projects. Students were excited to answer the questions about what they had explored in the virtual expo.
“This was a really great opportunity for me to learn more about the students and their interests outside of class,” Lower School associate teacher Amy Li said. “It’s fun to see students be excited about teaching something to their community.”
Elena said, “For me the biggest value with this expo is that it gives students an opportunity to experience what it’s like to come up with a project and follow through with it on their own. The things I really appreciate about the in-person STEM Fair are the student projects, and the fact that this core piece got to live on in this remote world is pretty special.”