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Review of the Nevada County STEAM Expo 2019

Review of the Nevada County STEAM Expo 2019

By: Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. April 23, 2019 – On Saturday, April 6th, NCSOS opened the doors of the Main Street Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds and the Northern Mines Building and welcomed approximately 2000 visitors to the 4th STEAM Expo 2019. Inside, students were able to compete in on-the spot robotics competitions, experience hands-on math challenges, create with 3D printers, assemble and launch paper hot air balloons, code and control robots, experience science-based art projects and play musical instruments from flutes to tubas. Families and other visitors enjoyed perusing student competition displays, local classroom STEAM art projects, free bicycle tune-ups by local students, musical performances by our local youth, and much, much more. If you’d like to learn as to why education providers have moved from STEM to STEAM education, you could look at this infographic for reasons as to why educators are preferring to include the arts in courses, as well as why employers also prefer employees that have experienced STEAM education.

New this year was the partnership between NCSoS and the Nevada County Tech Connection, Economic Resource Council and Cranmer Industries in bringing local industries raising awareness of the link between educational goals and dreams and the career opportunities provided by local businesses and organizations. Students were able to experience green screen video making, create original art, learn how to separate soil through sifters, learn about the local watershed, wear 3-D virtual glasses, see the power of solar energy and so much more that we haven’t listed here.

Since its first year, NCSOS still maintains the steam education philosophy of a STEAM framework for teaching is based on natural ways of learning, customizable for ALL types of students and programs and is FUNctional! Shifting to a STEAM perspective means understanding learning contextually; not only in terms of having a framework that illustrates where the subjects overlap, but also in providing a living and adaptable learning structure for ever-changing personal and global development.

Planning for the Expo began by reaching out to Nevada County schools, local businesses, community members, and others who use or have vested interests in the type of educational opportunities STEAM encourages. The response is growing every year, with this year being the largest yet for having hands-on activities for attendees to experience. Students brought in their science projects, investigations, and problem solving challenges in the categories of Scientific Inquiry, Rube Goldberg machines, Environmental/Agricultural Innovation, Science Fiction, Robotics/Computer Science, Reverse Engineering, Invention, Art, and Problem Solving and Design in Math. These students proudly delivered their products to the event site to be judged. On the eve of the Expo, county board members, retired teachers, community members, principals, local engineers, and NC Arts Council members evaluated and scored each and every eligible student submission.

The NCSOS STEAM Expo 2019 closed with an awards ceremony during which over 50 students were recognized for their work in each STEAM category. In addition, student winners who participated in the TechTest Jr. math competition held in early March were recognized. Congratulations to all the category winners, schools and organizations who brought in their amazing hands-on exhibits. Forty-five Leonardo Da Vinci Awards were given for outstanding artistic communication of the students’ processes and products. NC Tech Connection awarded the winner of a raffle competition with a new drone. The Nevada Irrigation Department and Nevada County Engineers’ Association distributed cash awards for the top three student submissions that demonstrated excellence in engineering, and three projects were selected to move on to the California State Science Fair to be held in Los Angeles in April.

NCSoS would like to thank our sponsors for their support (many of whom were exhibitors at the STEAM Expo): American Association of University Woman (AAUW), AJA Video Systems, Autometrix, California Solar Electric Company, Geo-Logic Associates Grass Valley, A Belden Brand, Grass Valley Police Department, Music in the Mountains, Nevada Irrigation Department, Nevada City Film Festival, Sierra Soil Biology Association, Sierra Streams Institute, South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL), Telestream, and Traitware. I would also like to thank the entire STEAM Expo 2019 Committee, all volunteers who came to help set-up, break-down and judge some of the exhibits.

STEAM Expo 2020 has been tentatively scheduled for March 28, 2020! Details will be rolled out in the fall, but all information needed by teachers, to prepare students for STEAM Expo 2020, can be found at http://www.nevcoexpo.org.

See you next year!