STEAM/Maker Program Inspires Creativity, Award-Winning Projects

A weekly in-depth STEAM/Maker program at The Spring Hill School lets all students in grades 1-6 deep-dive into activities that help them get creative while honing their science, technology, engineering, art, and math skills. Over the past two years, they’ve produced award-winning projects recognized across the Bay Area.

Two Spring Hill parents — Diana Planson, a professional welder, and David Moshal, a biomedical engineer — lead the program. In 2015, to symbolize the curriculum’s focus on community and global outreach, students got together to create a huge metal globe, which required figuring out all the necessary components and how large or small each part should be. They used a plasma cutter to construct the continents, and “rounded out” their creation by welding them to a pipe-like exterior. The project earned the Editor’s Choice Award special award from Make: Magazine at the Bay Area Maker Faire,

Last year, they crafted and displayed a large Ferris wheel at the Marin County Fair’s art exhibit, inspired by the Fair’s “What a Ride!” theme. Parts were welded together, each student created a doll to ride in small, welded cars, and LED lights were programmed to flash in a variety of different colors and patterns. The pièce de résistance: a small, working motor that used an AutoCAD program and a 3-D printer. The end result was “not only an adorable and functional project,” says Communication Coordinator Don Lewis, “it also won three awards, including Best in Show.”

“Now that I’ve welded, I know I can make something like that,” sixth grader Arayla Wight says of the metal sculptures. “I’m learning that if you work hard, anything is possible.”

Does your school do something similar?

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