Connecting science, technology, engineering, arts, and math

Shelton’s Long Hill Elementary School took the first step in the direction of showing students the connection between what students are learning in the classroom and the world around them.

Tina Henckel, chair of the city’s focus group that helps students to see the connection between science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) said this is just a stepping stone for where she sees education in Shelton heading.

“We really want to take this to the next level in the coming years,” said Henckel. “This is the first event where there really was that interdisciplinary connection. I think the more opportunities we present to our staff and students to see how the different areas of study are related to each other, the more successful the kids will be.”

Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet said all the parents and students in attendance were excited to participate in the hands-on activities that were offered.

“It was really awesome and is just another example of some of the educational programs we have going on in Shelton,” said Clouet.

An estimated 150 students and parents attended the event.

Those in attendance had the chance to create bookmarks that were donated to assisted living facility Crosby Commons, meet the city’s robotics team and its robot, fly mini drones through a program called Milestone C, solve puzzles, test parachutes, and be part of the “community mural” by painting a tile with the help of the Giggling Pig. The tile will be on display in the Board of Education’s central office. The mural was unveiled at the Wednesday, May 24, Board of Ed meeting.

“This was a good first attempt at something down the road the city would like to make a districtwide event,” said Henckel. “The staff was creative in their methods of connecting the science, technology, engineering, art, and math.”

Henckel said the purpose of the event was to connect three of the city’s strategic plans and groups: STEAM, the community and the humanities.

“We brainstormed some of the more traditional stations that had been at events similar to MindFest in the past but decided that it needed a new flair,” said Henckel. “We want the kids to really begin to see the bigger picture.”

Henckel said in the future the city’s focus groups would like to see, and are working toward creating, more cross-disciplinary activities that are project-based. She said the teachers have embraced the transition.

Kristin Santilli, Long Hill School’s principal and chair of the humanities focus group, said her staff has done a nice job bringing creativity and implementing ideas into the curriculum.
“Everyone is really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Santilli. “This is really just the beginning and really shows the direction that education is heading in. We’re constantly looking to provide professional development for teachers and listen to creative input.”