‘Berg Annual Education Summit discusses STEAM

Three Tiffin City School teachers and three Heidelberg University professors served as keynote speakers Thursday afternoon, for the annual Education Summit, presenting on the Heidelberg STEAM Initiative.

Heidelberg University faculty, Stacey Pistorova, assistant professor of elementary education and Lindsey Haubert, assistant professor of mathematics education, have partnered to form collaborative efforts between Heidelberg, Heidelberg teacher candidates and local school districts and teachers around project-based learning and STEAM. This has created the TEACH – n – STEAM (Teachers Engaging All Children in STEAM). This initiative is made possible by a Martha Holden Jennings grant.

Tiffin City School teachers — Leigh Alvarado, Washington K-1 elementary teacher, Samantha Demmerley, Krout 2-3 elementary second grade teacher and Jennifer Gressman, Krout third grade teacher – presented their personal stories through the initiative.

Demmerley and Gressman said they both have been implementing STEAM bins into their classrooms to allow students to work together and own their learning.

Alvarado said with kindergarten it is a “different beast” in that she had to learn to find what her students’ interests were and cater to them and also incorporate the state standards.

“Students are able to have pride in their work,” Alvarado said.

In one lesson plan, Alvarado taught the students about sound and how they can see and manipulate sound vibrations.

Demmerley put together an egg drop project where students had to buy materials and build a contraption to keep their eggs safe while being dropped on the playground.

“They were excited to to be able to work through it and solve the problem,” Demmerley said.

Assistant professor of theatre Stephen Svoboda and adjunct instructor in the School of Music & Theatre David Cotter, presented “The ‘Arts’ in STEAM.”

Svoboda and Cotter discussed the importance of the arts component in STEAM education.

“It is not a noodle necklace, it is not just a drawing,” Svoboda said. “It is so much more.”

Arts in STEAM is comprised of three components, Svoboda said, accessibility, activation and alteration.

“The ‘A’ in STEAM is art in action,” Svoboda said.

Svoboda previously served as the executive artistic director of the Redhouse Arts Center and of the Adriondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. Cotter also served as the director of education at the Redhouse Arts Center, which served a poverty stricken population of students.

While at Redhouse, Svoboda and Cotter, took and implemented the “A” in STEAM in the classroom by using artistic methods interchanged with math, science, technology and engineering.

The changes they seen affected the students behavior, teacher’s perception of teaching and the community became more engaged with the school district.

The Education Summit is to continue today for breakout sessions starting at 9 a.m. in Wickham Great Hall, located in Campus Center.