Woodlawn successfully closed the first month of the new year, welcoming over four hundred attendees on campus to explore the world of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).
Those searching for scientific understanding through experimentation visited the glow-in-the-dark themed Woods Hall lab, directed by eighth-grade science and Upper School AP Biology and Chemistry teacher Ms. Carlisle. Twenty-two student volunteers from grades eight through twelve, dressed in their best neon attire, guided participants through three interactive booths.
The first booth was a Glo Germ lab, where lotion was placed on the participant’s hand, glowing brightly under ultraviolet light to reveal the germs on their hands. The volunteers put an emphasis on how bacteria can be spread without us realizing it. The second booth was a chromatography lab, where participants could observe a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water transform their filter paper doodles into colorful designs due to the separation of polar and nonpolar molecules. In the third booth, the Squishy Circuits lab, an all-ages favorite, participants formed closed-loop shapes out of conductive Play-doh and connected LED wires to create static electricity.
“The best part was seeing the kid’s faces light up when we showed them the experiment,” lab volunteer Crandall King ‘21 shares. “Learning is so important to me and to Woodlawn, and I was honored to show the kids and adults what hands-on learning is like.”
Others more fascinated by technology, engineering, and the mathematics behind the two were seen with Doctor Stutzman in the Woods Hall math room, viewing and experimenting with a 3D printer, in the barn with Benjamin Vaughan ‘21, representing YETI Robotics, learning the steps to program a robot, or with Gabe Miller ‘20 on the quad field.
"The purpose of my booth was to demonstrate how much solar power and being mindful of what you plug into your walls can save you. I displayed an industrial-sized solar panel to show the energy that it can generate,” explains Gabe Miller ‘20. “It was awesome to see so many people interested in all the fields of STEAM. The event represented all of the things that you can do with STEAM and hopefully inspired a lot of people!"
Additional booths from companies and organizations, traveling from as far as Charlotte, gathered in the barn to educate attendees on STEAM. These included iD Tech, a summer technology camp, 49th Security Division, computer security and ethical hacking club of UNC Charlotte, Carolinas Aviation Museum, FICSIT (Females In Computer Science and Information Technology) of Davidson College, SonaCare Medical, ICARS (Iredell County Amateur Radio Society), and more.
"STEAMfest is a great example of everything we love about Woodlawn,” Mr. Paul Zanowski, head of school, states. “It began as a partnership - a group of parents partnering with our teachers to create an event that kids would love, an event in which children would happily learn. The enthusiasm of our parents and teachers grew and attracted more and more volunteers, people from Woodlawn that wanted to be a part of this and people from the community. Our original hope: 18-20 booths and activities with 100 kids and their parents would attend. Sunday's result: 43 booths and activities, over 400 attendees, and nearly 100 volunteers! Nearly 200 of the attendees were families from the area who wanted to learn more about Woodlawn.”
“In every way, Sunday was an awesome day to be a Woodlawn Trailblazer!"