COVID-19 has canceled and postponed many activities and events, but it is not stopping the Douglas County Program for Student Success and STEAM Hub from having their sixth annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Extravaganza.

They are instead having a Virtual STEAM Extravaganza. It started Monday and will end Sunday. The theme for the week is Unplugged: Explore your world, Design your world.

Gwen Soderberg-Chase, director of DCPSS said that the goal of STEAM is to have kids be focused and engaged with important aspects to becoming involved in STEAM education.

Soderberg said, “STEAM education is being able to problem solve, creatively design, critically think, ask good questions, and be able to cooperate well with others.” The online extravaganza offers many ways to do this.

“Make it Monday” challenged kids and families to design a paper raceway for marbles, a car, or another object of your choice. This helps greatly with problem solving using math and angles.

“Take Apart Tuesday” had children deconstruct an item and try to repurpose the pieces into something new. This helps kids with engineering. When they disassemble things they can creatively design a way to put them back together to transform it into something new.

“What are you Wondering Wednesday?” This challenge was to find a live animal and observe its characteristics. Then, write about or draw what you notice and any questions you are wondering about what you see. (Why does it look the way it does? What characteristics are helpful? How?) This engages kids in closely studying things and coming up with scientific questions and conclusions about them.

“Think About it Thursday” had a challenge of using only paper and tape to create a freestanding structure that is at least one foot high, and can hold a small stuffed animal or toy. This helps children with critical thinking, getting them to figure out ways to keep it standing and encourage problem solving.

“Field Trip Friday” offered a scavenger hunt to find and collect the following items and then create a picture or collage with them. The items: something fuzzy, something rough, something straight, and something round. Two kinds of seeds and two pieces of man-made litter. Two different types of leaves and something green. Something that makes noise. A cone, a stick, and a beautiful rock. Also, any other items of your choice! This makes kids more aware of what is around them, having them think about substances and sizes.

The themes for today and tomorrow are “Sounds and Shadows Saturday” and “Soaring Sunday.”

If these sound like fun, you can go to the Douglas County Program for Student Success website www.dcpss.org or stemoregon.org and check them out.

You can share your creations on social media with #UVSTEAM or #STEMWeekOR, or for a chance to win a prize you can also register your creativity. These are some fun ways to become a STEAM thinker, and have a great time.

Skylar Knox is a sixth grade student at Fremont Middle School in Roseburg.

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