Discovery Fair 2023 had students using investigative skills to solve problems
Lyons Elementary hosted its 23rd annual Discovery Fair to showcase the desire and need for a STEM learning space.
The Lyons Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) created and now supports the Annual Discovery Fair where students create projects based on the ideals of the STEM program and their own creative inquiry. The new focus on STEM this year, with an emphasis on environmental leadership, showed that the projects displayed students’ investigative skills using design thinking to solve problems.
Students showed how the creative process worked in stages: Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Feedback.
PreK-5th grade students designed with their own student body in mind to house projects like the school garden, raising trout, bee keeping, vermi-composting, aquaponics, forest health monitoring, river chemistry, and others.
Two workshops were provided to participants after school to jumpstart creative thinking. Alone or in groups, students generated ideas like a “manipulator,” a rock launcher, presentation spaces, coding and VR centers, a weather lab, astronomical studies, chicken coops, and butterfly hatching.
Student input was shared with the Lyons Elementary STEM Leadership Team composed of staff, family, and community members. The team has been meeting for 8 months as an advisory committee for STEM learning spaces as well as curriculum and programming needs. The team will incorporate student input to create the new lab space.
In order to create a current STEM designated space at Lyons Elementary, the school district will be seeking support in a future bond initiative in 2024. The school and PTO team members plan and facilitate the next iteration of the Discovery Fair in 2024. If you are interested, please email Sarah Wegert, STEM Coordinator and Teacher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is STEM?
Lyons Elementary School established a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focus a year ago, building upon the existing Late Start Science and Leadership Program.
STEM is traditionally known as an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a context that makes connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise.
STEM classes have been very successful and the students have shown a high level of engagement. Now the elementary school administrators, teachers and students are thinking creatively about what a designated STEM learning space might look like.