Earlier this month, the New Hope-Solebury School District held its first-ever STEAM Expo, highlighting the impressive features of its recently completed STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Wing.
The event provided an opportunity for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences using professional-grade technologies.
The STEAM Wing, which opened in February, boasts a range of cutting-edge facilities, including a robotics arena, media production studio, high-speed computer lab, engineering makerspace, and manufacturing lab.
According to Dr. Amanda Benolken, New Hope-Solebury School District director of education, the district is thrilled about the new space and its potential impact on students’ development.
“We are incredibly excited about this new space and all of the potential it holds for our students. The kind of learning we can facilitate in this space will help students develop essential skills for their future: how to create, question, collaborate, and problem-solve effectively,” Benolken said.
The STEAM Wing project took one year to be completed. Previously, the area housed a nurse’s suite and an outdated manufacturing lab.
Superintendent Dr. Charles Lentz expressed pride in the team’s dedication and energy in bringing the vision to life. He emphasized the importance of innovation and real-world experiences in preparing students for future success, noting that the new space exemplifies the district’s commitment to those principles.
To introduce the STEAM Wing to the public, the district organized a themed STEAM Expo with a Star Wars motif.
At the May 4 event, visitors, many of whom embraced the Star Wars spirit by wearing related attire, were treated to guided tours of the facility.
New Hope-Solebury students acted as guides at various stations, providing explanations about the state-of-the-art equipment and technologies available in the STEAM Wing.
Noteworthy features included a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, plasma cutter, laser engraver, 3D printers, a full media production studio with a control room, high-speed computers for Esports, and a robotics arena showcasing the accomplishments of the district’s VEX Robotics teams.
Attendees were also treated to demonstrations of the district’s pioneering elementary STEAM curriculum. Students in grades 3 through 5 showcased their drone coding skills and demonstrated their ability to construct small boats, which were set to sail down a simulated “STEAM Stream” made from PVC pipe.
The STEAM Expo also served as a valuable networking opportunity, as approximately 25 representatives from local STEM-related industries and higher education institutions were in attendance.
In speaking with the representatives, students had the chance to learn more about local educational programs and explore potential career paths in STEM fields.
Richard Curtis, K-12 STEAM Coordinator, expressed enthusiasm for the community’s interest in the new facility and the overall success of the event.
Curtis remarked: “We are ecstatic that the community took such an interest in our new facility and this opportunity to celebrate STEAM. It was a great day of celebration for this district.”