Fourth grade math students at Streams Elementary had an exciting and thought-provoking experience
recently with … cafeteria tables? It is part of a STEAM initiative to make science, technology, engineering, math and the arts come together in a meaningful way for young learners.
Principal, Dr. Claire Miller, mentioned in passing that the current tables in the Nutrition Center were in need of replacing. This got the wheels turning for Enrichment Resource Teacher, Mrs. Mary Quinn, who has been integrating STEAM activities into learning opportunities. It was a real world problem that she felt certain would be an interesting challenge for the students - can you design a cafeteria table?
Working with Mrs. Anne Glaid, fourth grade Streams teacher, Mrs. Quinn set up interviews with several district employees who had a vested interest in the decision-making process. These included Dr. Miller, who would order the tables; head custodian Mr. Gregg West, who is responsible for maintaining and moving the tables, and Mr. Steve Mehalik, who had repaired and replaced the wheels on the old tables several times. Using the Engineering Design Process, small groups of students met with the “experts” to ask questions about an ideal cafeteria table. Students were then regrouped into teams of three and shared the information they had gleaned from the interviews.