October 31, 2017 3:00PM
More than 40 PSU students and faculty from the College of Education, the Department of Art, the College of Technology, and Family & Consumer Sciences, staged school-wide STEAM Family nights at Lakeside and at Meadowlark.
The learn-by-doing events emphasized Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, and in the end benefitted the PSU students who researched and developed the activities, the elementary students who engaged in them, and the parents who took part.
"This is preparing us for the classroom and how to get it to the kids' level," said Jordan Lawyer, an elementary education major, as she prepared a science activity involving the sense of smell. "We're enjoying the chance to interact with kids in a school setting and see what works and what doesn't."
Lawyer was accompanied by Sheldynn Reynolds, also an elementary education major. Together they spent several hours creating their display and experiment using samples of coffee, fresh grass, glue, peppermint, and other scents.
A steady stream of Lakeside students and their families stopped by the colorful booth, one of many on display in the gymnasium, to investigate.
Upstairs at a hallway booth, Randy Winzer, professor of engineering technology, and his daughter, Samantha, helped youngsters create circuits using batteries they could take home.
Nearby, Jamie Oliver, professor of art, and Nico Prelogar, instructor in automotive technology, showcased a collaborative class between their two programs.
And Family & Consumer Sciences students Maenisha Jones, who is pursuing a degree with an emphasis in early childhood education, and Lindy Fike, a FACS education major, guided visitors through activities designed to teach them finances and money management.
"We're teaching children and families about the three S's: saving, sharing, and spending," said Jones, who had as learning tools a drawer of play money, products to "buy," and a unique kind of piggy bank.
The two were not getting an assignment grade for participating, they said; their teacher asked for volunteers and they jumped at the chance to gain experience working with a variety of ages and to give back to the community, they said.
"It's fantastic to see the Pitt State students and faculty bring their enthusiasm and knowledge and experience to our kids, who might not otherwise have that exposure," said Rhonda White, Lakeside principal.
Cara Oliver, a Lakeside teacher, said the event demonstrates the strength of the collaboration between PSU and the school district.
"Also, it provides a great opportunity for not only our students, but our parents, to see how Math, Science and Art work together in many aspects. Hopefully events like this help fuel desire for everyone in attendance to remain life-long learners!"
Next spring, a similar event will be held at George Nettels Elementary School.