Sent from my “Steam-Fest” at BC Grammar School #1 Elementary shows students the fun of science

Roper Mountain Science Magic Show & Lego robotics both highlight STEAM-based activities

West Columbia, SC (James Bowers) -The field of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, collectively referred to as STEAM, is one that will dominate the job market over the coming decades according to most experts. Chris Dickey, the principal of Brookland-Cayce Grammar School #1 realizes this and decided to host an event that would show his students how much fun this area can be while preparing them for their likely future careers.

Mr. Dickey’s vision came to fruition on Friday, when B-C Grammar #`1 held its first annual STEAM-fest. All of the school’s students participated in the day long festivities, which gave them the opportunity to conduct their own experiments and science projects called “STEAM Challenges,” teaching them the fundamentals of the scientific method. The South Carolina STEM center assisted students and staff with their projects. Every class in grades K-5 was assigned to complete a certain project.“There have been a lot of failures, but the kids are excited about those failures,” Dickey joked, underscoring the excitement the kids had about learning scientific skills. “We want to give these kids an exposure (to STEAM) at an early age,” Dickey said. “They’re experiencing projects and figuring things out.”

The students were assisted in their work by honors science students from Airport High School. Dickey says the program was based around state science curriculum with an emphasis on exposing the students to real world situations, 21st century skills that they will need experience in if they become employed in a high-tech job.

In addition to the students’ own work, they were treated to a science magic show put on by Greenville’s Roper Mountain Science Center. During the show, several cool experiments were conducted. The kids also got to see some Lego robots in action courtesy of Lexington School District One and experience the exciting extraterrestrial simulator Star Lab provided by the South Carolina State Museum. The Airport High School JROTC drill team was also present and performed some of their routines for the young Brookland-Cayce Grammar #1 students. This actually added a great example of a performing arts element to the program.

Dickey’s background played a role in his interest in STEAM fields. Before coming to BC Grammar #1, he worked at Richland County School District 2’s Forest Lake Elementary. At that time, Forest Lake was a NASA explorer school. It was there that Dickey saw the positive effects of teaching STEAM to elementary school students, as growth among these jobs is expected to outpace those in other areas of the job market.

The 2017-2018 school year will be the last for Brookland-Cayce Grammar #1 as the school will merge with Pineview Elementary School to form the new Riverbank Elementary School. The new school is slated for an August, 2018 opening. According to Preston Deaver, instructional facilitator for B-C Grammar #1, the new school will have some form of a STEAM program and could possibly become a STEAM school in the future. It is obvious that STEAM-fest was something the new Riverbank school will look to build on as it develops its curriculum.

For the kids, Friday’s activities were a blast. “The kids were having a lot of fun and definitely motivated," Deaver said. The students were enthusiastic and attentive as they learned about the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. There is no doubt that Steam-Fest was a success that gave the kids a positive experience in a world that they could very well could find themselves in daily in the future.

For more information on STEAM education in South Carolina, visit this link. CLICK HERE

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