By Zach Chouteau
A fun night of learning ‘steamed’ into Mira Vista Elementary Tuesday evening, bringing with it 3D printing excitement, do-it-yourself mazes and balloon racing, along with plenty of other unexpected offerings.
For those unfamiliar, STEAM is an educational term standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The night at Mira Vista showcased all of these subjects in entertaining ways, with the heart of the doings centered on science and tech in the cafeteria.
A 3D printer, as well as a laser-cutter, were on hand as part of the Mobile Fab Lab, helping expand access to the high-tech Fab Lab at Richmond’s Kennedy High School. The lab’s establishment in 2015 was funded by a Chevron grant in partnership with the WCCUSD and the Fab Foundation.
My son Logan, a Kindergarten student at Mira Vista, particularly enjoyed watching the 3D printer in action as it crafted brightly colored plastic toys right in front of his eyes. Making a bouncy ball out of some slimy materials was another highlight.
Moving on to other parts of the school—and other STEAM subjects—Logan engineered his own mini-LED flashlight in Room 6 and even enjoyed some ‘coding’ activity, creating a colorful bead bracelet spelling out his name in code in the Teacher’s Lounge.
Principal Gabe Chilcott oversaw the activities, including some raffle giveaways that featured 3D printer-made souvenirs, and numerous staff members were on hand helping out as well. Logan’s teacher, Mrs. Carrousel, teamed with fellow Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Blain to help conduct an apple taste test (green apples dominated in case you were wondering); a third Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Albinson, chipped in by leading the coded bracelet doings.
Perhaps most impressive of all was the stupendous turnout of parents and students for the evening, with the cafeteria jam-packed at the height of the event and all the participating schoolrooms humming with activity.
Mira Vista Elementary is located on Hazel Avenue in East Richmond Heights.