Summer picks up STEAM

Second annual STEAM Fest set for this Saturday

SCHOOL IS winding down and summer is just around the corner. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to keep the learning going between school yeas with summer camps.

Get a taste of the fun educational events to come this summer at the second annual STEAM Fest.

STEAM Fest celebrates both meanings of its name, the steam trains at the Georgia State Railroad Museum and the areas of study known collectively as STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The fun kicks off Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia State Railroad Museum.

“For this event, STEAM doesn’t only relate to our fully operational steam engine, but also to the countless science, technology, engineering , art and mathematical concepts that are embedded around every corner of our historic site,” says Sara Boon, education specialist for the Coastal Heritage Society.

STEAM is a more inclusive adaptation of STEM, which rose in popularity as an initiative to get kids excited about science-based areas of study. As more institutions now note, art is integral to the scientific world.

“Adding the A to STEM is really more a matter of acknowledging the power and pervasiveness of art,” event partner STEAM Savannah notes on its website.

“STEM lessons naturally involve art: new technologies get rolled into product design, video game design requires both computer code and digital assets, HTML and CSS must work closely with the aesthetic requirements for the website or mobile app being created. STEM projects do not deliberately exclude the arts or any other subject; rather, these subjects are included incidentally as needed for engineering challenges.”

The STEAM Fest’s programming for the day shows the natural intersection of science and art in an easy and fun way.

STEAM Savannah is a group who hosts camps for students in the Guild Hall and at St. Andrew’s School. The roster of camps this summer includes Video Game Design I, Robotics I: Armatures and Vehicles, Video Game Design II, Robotics II: Drones, Minecraft I-IV, Tech Startups for Kids, Design and 3D Modeling, and Freeplay Gaming. They will lead an activity at the festival and present information on their camps for kids in 4th through 9th grade.

Savannah Technical College will discuss their renowned Historic Preservation program, which is available as both an associate degree and a technical certificate of credit.

Sylvan Learning Center offers 45-minute class demos. Coastal Heritage Society’s historic resource specialist Becki Harkness will lead an indigo dyeing program and explain the history behind the process.

Snapology Savannah mixes education and play, tailoring their programs to specific themes to fit each kid’s needs. Based in Richmond Hill, Snapology offers programming in several different local spots, like St. Andrew’s School and Savannah Christian Prep. At STEAM Fest, Snapology will offer their STEAM-based LEGO activities, but the programs also utilize things like fidget spinners and slime.

For the other iteration of steam involved in the festival, the Georgia State Railroad Museum beefs up their programming for the Fest with more railcar and handcar activities, as well as locomotive train rides.

The museum will also be raising funds for the Track Match Challenge, a project that hopes to improve the accessibility on train rides and flexibility for maneuvering the trains.

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