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2018 STEAM University offered students a wide range of experiences

In January, Cayuga Community College played host to the 2018 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) University event. Sponsored by Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES' Talented and Gifted Advisory Committee, the two-day event offered a wide variety of hands-on activities to the more than 300 students who signed up to participate.

The STEAM University event served as what is known as a "makerspace." While a nuts-and-bolts explanation might traditionally follow the introduction of such a term, defining exactly what that term means has proven tricky. However, most definitions of word (no matter how complex or verbose) seem to be, at their core, permeated by three common elements: makerspaces are where people, in places, create something. 

With this more inclusive definition of the term "makerspace" as a backdrop, the 2018 STEAM University was set into motion. Each participating student was allowed to register for two classes, both of which took place over morning and afternoon sessions (with a lunch break in between) over the course of the two days. Some of the classes on offer integrated newer technology (Drone Discovery, Critical Thinking Through Coding), while others offered low-or-no tech options (Everyone Can Improv, Learn to Crochet). Regardless of the level of technology involved, each of the classes adhered to the aforementioned theme of makerspace: students, using the tools in their space, to create.
Students preparing to use code students learning tablet program
student coding on tablet sphere ball rolls along defined path
The CNYRIC's Jason Clark taught students how to make a robot perform a designed task using code

paper bead art 1 paper bead art 2
mola bead art 1 mola bead art 2
Students flexed their creative muscles, crafting intricate pieces in the Paper Bead Jewelry and Mola Bead Art classes

students ready their aircraft student aircraft in flight!
In Drone Discovery, students learned about the science behind flight

students creating their scrapbooks cucumber sushi
students learn the art of improvisation students begin their careers in improv
Some students created scrapbooks from scratch, while others made sushi with Chef Jordan. At improv class, charisma was the "tool" used to build memorable performances

student creating with crochet students crochet around table
students weaving their baskets putting the finishing touches on this basket
Students learned firsthand about the planning and dexterity required for both basket making and crochet

students use wood pen to decorate boomerang some of the aboriginal art displayed by the teacher
Students learned about Australian Aboriginal art and culture, then practiced creating artifacts using boomerangs and wood-burning pens

Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES has spearheaded this event for over 30 years, a span covering almost the entirety of the school's existence. This year, seven of the organization's component school districts sent students from grades 5-8 to the makerspace. Some schools made their selections based upon student interest, while others elected to send entire grades to the event. Regardless of how these students were selected, those who attended the event were tasked with employing a wide range of range of skills and abilities - critical thinking chief among them - to create something memorable.






Brian K. Hartwell, Ed.D.
District Superintendent of Schools

1879 West Genesee Street Rd.
Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 253-0361

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