Head of School Blog

Our Arts Initiative - Full STEAM Ahead!

Jill Singleton | Volume: 6 Issue: 18 | April 12, 2017
“Oh I wish the wind was blowing,” remarked a young boy no more than seven as he walked by our new student-created kinetic sculptures on the fence at 707 Washington Street. And with that he made his best attempt at getting the 3’x3’ sculptures made out of plastic bottles, bottle caps, aluminum cans and other recycled materials to move by the power of his own supply of personal “wind.”

When the sculptures were hung on Friday, the wind was in full force and all of the art pieces were dancing and moving in accordance with the design-thinking of the Sixth Grade students who created them under the guidance of Artist in Residence Ben Pranger.  This 11-week STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) workshop used nature as inspiration for the beautiful works of art that were created.

Prior to planning the project, students conducted research on a variety of topics.  “We discussed the meaning of kinetic, and looked at many examples of kinetic sculptures,” said Science Teacher Christine McGarry, one of the teachers who spearheaded the project. “Students worked in pairs to put together a slideshow that included the examples of unique wind-powered kinetic sculptures, including those that represented something in nature, those that were created using recycled materials, and sculptures that incorporate sound as well as movement.”

“I like the teamwork and all of us working together and getting to see the great big sculptures at the end,” said Max, one of the students.  “We ran into obstacles – like running out of cans – and we had to improvise and use other materials.”

His classmate, Kyle, thought that the materials and tools made the project super exciting. “We got to use all of these materials that some of us never got to use before,” he said.

“I like that there was no limit to what you could build,” said Oona. “It really opened up your mind.”

“This project was a great opportunity to see sides and skills of students I never knew were there,” said Dean of Students Mr. Guzman, who also had the pleasure of supporting the project. “During the first two weeks we all felt like success was nowhere in sight, but after that, things started to take off and we were swept up by the creative process and our sculptures took form and shape.”

This project seamlessly bridges our STEM initiative of the last two years with next year’s Arts initiative. The creative-thinking, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills developed through the Arts are key components of student success in STEM subjects. A student's focus, confidence and perseverance are all developed through the study of the arts.  

Please join us in putting the “A” in STEM to make STEAM as we raise funds to support expanded programming for our talented students! If you didn’t have a chance to make a donation at last week’s auction, it’s not too late! Click here to make your pledge today!

Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them!  Email me: jsingleton@allsaintsdayschool.org