East Central High School students participated in the 2nd Annual STEAM Fair in January. The fair gives students the opportunity to show off their skills and have some fun in the process.
The STEAM Fair has several different events, including:
- Science Fair
- Quiz Bowl
- Research Projects
- Improbable Hypotheses Challenge
- Rube Goldberg Challenge
- Escape Room Challenge
- Robotics Competition
In the science fair, students presented experiments involving drones, makeup, basketball, education, bacteria growth, and more. For the Improbable Hypotheses Challenge, students had to sell the judges on a bad idea, such as using a giant laser as a snow removal solution.
Students also took on an escape room designed by biology teacher Wesleigh Hawk. They were given ten minutes to solve a series of codes and clues. For each hint they required, they were deducted fifteen seconds.
“It teaches them teamwork,” said Wesleigh.
In another room, students worked on building overly complex machines for the Rube Goldberg Challenge. The goal was to create a complicated contraption in three hours that used as many steps as possible to throw away a piece of paper.
“It’s unstructured critical thinking,” said science teacher Colton McConnell. “The cool thing is this can be anything they want. There’s something so beautiful about the discovery factor.”
Robotics teams faced off to see whose autonomous robot was most effectively coded to knock their opponent off a platform.
Some students worked on year-long research projects to present to industry experts and professors at the STEAM Fair.
“They’re really interesting. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Wade Exendine from Spirit Airlines. “The priming project was memorable. It was something I could personally benefit from.”
“It is useful to have people from outside to come ask questions, so they have some idea they are not doing it to get a grade, it has an impact in the world,” said Dr. Sheyda Chamaki, who teaches the research course with Science Department Chair Chris Hurt.
Chris said the school tends to see higher engagement in the classroom following the STEAM Fair.
“[Students] are learning problem solving, time management, how to write reports, presentation skills, teamwork, how to deal with unexpected obstacles – all of these critical thinking skills,” he said.
More than 300 students participated in the fair. Any ECHS student can sign up, and many teachers work it into their curriculum. It gives students a chance to go beyond worksheets and quizzes to get hands-on science experience. Check out the photos below to see a glimpse into the STEAM Fair events.