Winter STEAM Update

January 2020

Mark your calendars for Hillside's STEAM Fair!

On Wednesday, February 26th, our scientists will share their amazing work at our annual STEAM Fair. It is our hope to have many of our students dive into an area of interest and share their discoveries. Anything goes, so feel free to have some fun and be creative!

You can help your child sign up at the following link:


Cold, snowy winter weather means we need to wear our warm coats, boots, hats, gloves and scarves! Weather-watching scientists can think about the weather and then make great choices about what to wear to stay healthy. We challenged ourselves to dress felt-people for a variety of weather situations. Next our scientists learned that the sun can make things hot - ouch! We also learned that just like many other animals, the sun can damage our skin. So then how can we protect ourselves when we're outside? We can make sun shelters! Kindergarten engineers created model sun shelters, and then they tested how well their shelters work by using UV-sensitive beads.

First Grade

Our scientists have been engineering ways to communicate messages across distances. Stoplights were their inspiration for using multi-colored papers and flashlights to send coded messages, and then we explored and made our own drums to understand how sound can be used to communicate. With all of that new knowledge, our students were challenged to design and construct their very own message sender using light or sound.

Second Grade

Our scientists have been thinking about the ways in which they can change solids. For example, we can cut paper to change its shape and function, but these changes are irreversible. On the other hand, small solids such as plastic building bricks, are meant to be put together and then rearranged. We enjoyed the book, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, and then used plastic building bricks to create new crayon containers for Duncan's crayons, taking into account each crayon's concerns. Finally, we made collaborative melted crayon art.

Third Grade

It's a carnival of learning here in our third grade STEAM sessions! Students have played with common childhood toys including racing cars, spinning tops, and marbles in order to explore concepts such as friction, gravity, pushes, and pulls. Now our engineers are using their knowledge of force and motion to create cardboard arcade games, inspired by Caine's Arcade. Thank you to our families for sending in game supplies to help our engineers build!

Fourth Grade

Throughout history, people have communicated with one another by transferring information in codes. Common codes include our alphabet, "secret" codes, and even binary, which is how our computers and other technology are able to use information. Our scientists stretched their thinking by investigating some of these coding systems, making Morse code key chains and even hidden picture art using the binary number system. Written communication is only one piece of the ways in which we share information with one another, so now we are beginning to investigate sound. How does sound travel, and what does sound even look like?

A Special THANK YOU!

Thank you to all of our family volunteers who were able to accompany our students on our fall nature walks. Being outdoors, exploring the nature that is directly surrounding us, allows our students to develop their sense of environmental stewardship. It also allows them to have hands-on experiences to apply their learning inside our STEAM classroom. We can't wait for our next spring walks, beginning in late April!
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