District Spotlight: Boston Harbor ES Parents Share about STEAM-related Professions

Feb 15, 19

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Boston Harbor Elementary School Parents Share about STEAM-related Professions

Children at Boston Harbor Elementary School
Guest presenters from the Boston Harbor Elementary School parent community shared with students this month about how their professions are connected to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and/or Mathematics (STEAM).

The parent presentations kicked off three days of STEAM-related activities, which also included the school’s second annual STEAM night and a visit from the Pacific Science Center.

Parent Tony Messmer, a structural engineer, shared a presentation that included a hands-on activity. He talked with students about cables, anchors and towers before creating a human-powered suspension bridge. His goal was to provide an interactive presentation that would leave an impression on students, as well as allow them to “have fun goofing around being part of the bridge.” Two broad, yellow straps ran the length of the room over the shoulders of students who stood in two rows. “Keep pulling back, anchors!” Messmer encouraged the students. “Hold your positions! Hold your positions!” he reminded them as they squealed and pulled on the straps.

Tad Devitt, a former military mountaineer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, enjoyed sharing with students about his passion for living and climbing in winter conditions. His presentation included a wide variety of climbing and hiking gear for the students to explore. Students traipsed around the room with hiking poles, blew in wind gauges and played with Lego figurines used to demonstrate lead climbing.

While Devitt focused on adventuring from the ground, Dan Krause, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy who works with the Air Force, shared how important math is for flying an airplane. Krause talked about how airplane dials correspond to math, including how they are used to monitor air speedvalues and altitude. Students “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” as they watched a video of jets taking off and landing aboard aircraft carriers.

On the creative side, Jennifer Huntley combined math and art in a music presentation. Students sat on the floor with a wide variety of drums between them. Huntley talked with the students about the different types of beats, such as duple, triple and asymmetric. She encouraged students to “hold up my song” while she sang and helped them clap out an asymmetric meter.

The presentation that generated the most giggles was held in the gym. Ellen Greenaway and Oksana Skillings were the main presenters, or so it seemed. A large cardboard box titled “microbe” was at the front of the gym. When leaves were dropped into the box, a voice called out from the box, “Yummy!” The students in the audience burst into a fit of giggles. When a plastic bag was dropped in, Greenaway asked, “Are you choking?” “Yes,” answered the voice. Greenaway referred to the microbe as “that rascally microbe.” Rowan Greenaway, Ellen’s son, seemed to thoroughly enjoy his role as microbe. His black suit and red ski goggles made him a very realistic microbe.

What a thoroughly fun and fascinating event for the Boston Harbor students. As Greenaway says so well: “Anytime you have children making real world connections at school, I am a happy parent. So thrilled with Boston Harbor Elementary School for putting STEAM into our classrooms.”

Originally posted on www.ourkidswa.com.

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