Riverview holds STEAM Week

RIVERVIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL students prepare an obstacle course as part of the school’s STEAM Week activities. — Submitted photo RIVERVIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL students prepare an obstacle course as part of the school’s STEAM Week activities. — Submitted photo Riverview Middle School students recently enjoyed a variety of hands-on, engaging activities during STEAM Week.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The purpose of STEAM Week, held May 31 to June 3, was to provide a capstone project for students. The activities provided students with the opportunity to apply their year-long learning to an integrated project.

Fifth grade

Fifth-graders held a cook-off to utilize what they’d learned in their consumer, math and culinary classes. Their teachers and culinary arts teachers Sue Sell and Gale Litt coordinated a project on healthy after-school snacks.

PHS culinary arts student Derek Schweiger helped kick off the project by talking with students about the importance of safety and teamwork in the kitchen. He also addressed potential professional careers in the food industry and the specific skills as well as core studies associated with becoming a top-notch chef.

Additional guest speakers, including Rhonda Holland, Shelly Jones and Plymouth School District Chef Caren Johnson, also shared valuable insights about nutrition, running a catering business and kitchen etiquette.

Students shopped, converted recipes, wrote descriptive pieces about their creations, and prepared their own dishes, which were judged by PHS culinary arts students.

“So many people came together to make this a spectacular venture and the students did an impressive job,” said fifth-grade teacher Butch Cain. “The snacks tasted great and give our students a safe and nutritional alternative that they can prepare for themselves and their families in the future.”

Sixth grade

Sixth-graders drew on what they learned about business, product design and economics to present a market.

Prior to starting the official unit, the language arts and social studies teachers focused on supply and demand, budgets, color psychology, and advertising techniques to help the students get a better understanding of how to create and sell a successful product. Students also watched a few child and teen entrepreneurs on the show “Shark Tank” to get more real-world insight to the energy and thought behind creating a product and then “selling” it and finding investors.

As all this was going on, the sixth-graders were involved in a money system, where each was given $18 in “Market Moolah” to start and could earn and lose money. This currency was used throughout the market for the students to purchase business licenses and buy products from their classmates.

Teams of three pitched their products to a panel of three teachers. “We were looking for products that required little or no outside funding,” said sixth-grade teacher Taylor Lembrich. “We really wanted the kids to get creative and find items they had around their homes to create their products.”

Teams contacted local businesses for guidance, and were required to attend at least two guest speakers and at least two mini-sessions taught by sixth-grade staff on various business topics.

“This was probably my favorite day of the market because the students were really on their own,” Lembrich said. “Many came dressed in business-professional clothing.”

As part of the unit, students also came up with a business name, commercial, packaging, booth display, and a website. They surveyed students to get an idea how many items to make.

The entire school was invited to the market, held June 1 and 2. Students in other grades each received $5 in Market Moolah to spend.

In all, there were nearly 50 different companies and products, ranging from food to wood crafts, from stress balls to lip balm, and from hologram projectors to portable phone chargers. The top seller was OLA Sugar Scrub, which pulled in over $500 during the two days.

“It was great to see all the students find success and having a great time celebrating each other’s accomplishments throughout the whole unit,” Lembrich said. “I think we are going to see some really big things in the future from this group of kids if they keep up with their ideas and continue to dig and change to make modifications to their products.”

Seventh and eighth grades

Students in grades seven and eight participated in a variety of activities, including:

River Study: Students explored how stability and change affect the quality of our environment.

Survivor Challenge: Imagining they were stranded in an undisclosed location with a small group of people, students had to figure out what it takes to survive, given the environment.

Product Design: Students designed a product - such as an automobile, a toy, or a sink - and mocked up a new product or drafted improvements to an existing one.

CSI - Crime Scene Investigation: Students created their own fictional crime scenes, using their knowledge of forensic science, and then solve other “crimes.”

Event Design: Students planned and created a dream event, such as a wedding, tailgate party or Eighth Grade Graduation Celebration.

Guatemala Kites: Drawing inspiration from the Guatemalan Kite Festival held on Dia de los Muertos, students designed, created and flew kites showcasing an influential Latino.

Post Hunger Games: Students devised a diet plan and obstacle course for a community that has become unhealthy and unfit.

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