On May 17th, the City of St Thomas council unanimously approved the Model trial of our STEAM Community Studio Reuse proposal. Students from Western's Environmental Sciences Health Promotion Community Engaged Learning class spent time with the STEAM Education Centre learning skills like Design Thinking and Research Methodology. The proposal was originally provided by Director of Environmental Services/City Engineer Justin Lawrence for the purposes of diverting waste from the landfill and increasing reuse options for the City. The students partnered with Habitat for Humanity's St. Thomas Restore manager, Dana Erickson to create a proposal where once launched, items dropped by the public for reuse will be picked up and brought to be sold at the restore which will ultimately benefit the future building of homes for those in need.
Please enjoy reading the students' prepared proposal that will now enter the first phase of the trial which will be the addition of a C-Can to the City Recycling Centre site. Stay tuned for further updates!
The STEAM Community Studio project helps create student engaged learning by providing them with proposals from the community on local issues. After selecting the initial four community impact projects for STEAM Community Studio, next came the process of connecting students with these ideas to create an experiential learning opportunity. Our STEAM team worked with learning coordinators from TVDSB and Western to help perfectly pair students with a challenge that would grow their curriculum experience. The STEAM Community Studio then spends time connecting with industry experts that can help further the educational experience and help the students research their projects.
The students are able to work through the processes of brainstorming, Design Thinking and developing ideas for creating a prototype that could receive funds up to $2000 towards proof of concept. These funds were generously donated by the Estate of Donna Bushell and facilitated through Andrew Gunn Consulting. The process will also have another level of student involvement in the role of Young & Free Press reporter, Sophie Mutch who will join in to report on the progress of the projects.
We have now selected the student groups and are pleased to announce them and their industry partners for each project. Welcome to the Western University environmental health sciences, Eagle Heights elementary Excellerators group, Ivey Business School volunteers, Oakridge Secondary, St Joseph’s High school volunteers and students from Arthur Voaden and H.B. Beal SHSM classes!
1) Reducing Waste: Finding reuse for items in a cluttered world
We would like to welcome Kalin Forgie, Katie Franklin, and Lauren McNair from Environmental Health Sciences: Environmental Health Promotions 3rd year program 3rd at Western University! These students are working to tackle building a prototype plan for a Reuse model at the St Thomas Community Recycling Centre (CRC). The plan was suggested to the STEAM Centre by the City of St Thomas. The students have worked on learning the Design Thinking process with Director of Education Fred Cahill, Research Methodology with St Thomas Library Fundraising & Outreach Coordinator, Amelia Bainbridge and have been able to meet with industry expert Michelle Shannon, Waste Management Coordinator of the CRC and City of St Thomas engineer Justin Lawrence. Using the information and training provided they are busy developing a plan for a waste reuse model that will have a positive environmental impact in the St Thomas area. The students are compiling a report to be presented to City Council for review.
2) Creating Sensory Spaces
This proposal, brought to us by Wellkin Child & Youth engagement council, sees an interesting collaboration between the Eagle Heights Elementary School Excellerator’s group, made up of students from grades 5-7, with three Grade 12 students (pictured above) from St Joseph’s Catholic High School. Students Monica Paul, Kaylee Simoes and Madison Stacey are acting as mentors while simultaneously going through the learning process themselves.
The objective for this group was to learn about the role that empathy plays in the Design thinking process so that discoveries can be made to create modular sensory panels that would suit a variety of Wellkin’s guests. Director of Education, Fred Cahill took them on a journey to learn the brainstorming process using a Crazy Eights workshop and Melissa Petkau of Jason’s Wheelhouse discussed sensory needs that may be encountered during the project. These are sensory aspects that she has seen in her role with the centre and as a member of the Complex Behaviour Intervention team as part of the Grand Erie Board of Education.
Students also learned from the STEAM team how to create their prototypes by using Tinkercad software and created a foam core prototype using a bag of sensory supplies. They will be able to present their creations and their findings to members of Wellkin’s Student Engagement group and to the Youth Engagement Facilitator, Jessica Ross. From there the prototypes will be given to the Arthur Voaden Manufacturing and Design SHSM class to work on constructing next level modules based on their designs.
3) Virtual Marketplace for Small Businesses
Shurki Matan from the Ivey Business school is the lead mentor of SHSM students from H.B. Beal for supporting the Downtown Development Board’s proposal of creating a virtual marketplace presence for downtown businesses. Shukri and two other Western Students, Rohan Noronha and Behdokht Mazahari worked to study the downtown core's existing online presence, assess their needs and to find possible solutions for increasing this presence with the goal of helping to generate revenue and awareness of local businesses. They have received great support from local businesses including; Canden Tech, Streamliners Espresso Bar, Aline's Fine Lingerie and Your Fish and Chips to help build their knowledge of local business needs.
4) Audio/Video Production Studio for Youth Skill Building
Students from Oakridge Secondary School's Visual Arts/ Video/ Design grade classes are working through the Design Thinking process with Fred Cahill, Director of Education at STEAM Education Centre and learning from industry experts including podcaster, Trudy Chapman of Meanderings with Trudy and Derrick Beckford, Production Manager and Technical Director in the Broadcast and Live Industry with the goal of designing an AV Production space for the Ignite Youth Centre. This project will help connect with local youth and student leaders at the Ignite Youth Centre and give them a chance to create podcasts and videos to get their voices heard.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this process of helping to make real community impact in Elgin- St Thomas! Stay tuned as our next project and student partners will be announced soon.
If you have an idea for a possible project/issue you'd like resolved email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
STEAM Community Studio
“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The STEAM Centre welcomes further submissions and academic partnering applications.
STEAM Education Centre and Antler River elementary school from the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation have joined forces to inspire digital literacy among elementary communities through the newly created iSTEAM program. Thanks to generous donations from Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and the Ontario Trillium Foundation the multi-week year long program has the Centre provide weekly sessions where the students get to build on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art design ,Math) based skills and combine its relevance with indigenous storytelling and teachings and curriculum ties.
In the first session students were taught about the concept of the how and the why of the sky and that hidden in plain sight is all the wonder of the world. The idea of exploring that we are in this amazing, invisible fluid all day that sustains us and we ignore it but it is what we breathe and what allows all flying things to have a chance to fly, float and soar in this graceful interaction with gravity and energy. The first challenge when discussing flight dynamics was to create an object out of paper that would stay afloat in a built air tube. This could be a paper airplane modified in various ways or a helicopter using a pattern provided to the students. They could also test to see how throwing the paper flight objects by hand would vary in glide time and distance so that they can alter their design as needed.
The overarching theme of the how and why of the sky was further set to engage the students through the celebration of the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation's story of the Thunderbird. The students were also provided with bird flyer kits that were designed at the STEAM Centre on Corel Draw software and moi3D. After repeated flight tests of the various designs these bird flyer kits were then laser cut out of foam core and added metal washers to aid in the balancing. Students were encouraged to assemble and use art design to make their bird unique .Many took them home to complete and reported working on the designs with their family members. "The school partnership with STEAM is "bringing families together. Empowering students and engaging adults." -Jeff Clark, Antler River Elementary School teacher