Picking up STEAM
With the help of Camp Loughridge, students at 13 schools have already created aquaponic systems, home to plants and beta fish.
Students work on STEAM projects in Richard Willis’ art class at Mayo Demonstration School.
What do 600 beta fish and basil plants have to do with science education? Quite a lot.
Throughout the 2016-17 school year, 650 second-, fourth- and fifth-graders throughout Tulsa Public Schools are participating in a pilot STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program, targeted at imbedding special project units into regular science curricula. The program, which is funded through private donations, partners with Tulsa organizations to help students meet science standards and provide a hands-on experience.
With the help of Camp Loughridge, students at 13 schools have already created aquaponic systems, home to plants and beta fish. The system serves a dual function in which the plants — in this case, basil and sprouts — filter water for the fish, and the fish provide nutrients for the plants. This year, students also have developed hand-pollinators with the Tulsa Botanic Garden. This spring, 27 fourth-grade classes will design and test solar ovens in partnership with the Tulsa Geoscience Center and the Oklahoma Resources Board.
“Kids get to go into the community and see people doing jobs that they could someday do,” says TPS STEAM Coordinator Julie Hasfjord. The program hopes to expand into sixth and seventh grades in the next school year.