On a sunny Saturday in January, 1000 eager visitors assembled on the campus of Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg to participate in a variety of family-friendly activities, all centered on the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math - or STEAM.
Shorecrest, a preschool-12th grade independent school in St. Pete, has sponsored and hosted the event since its inception in 2016. “STEAM subjects and projects are a part of what we do everyday at Shorecrest,” says Dr. Anna Baralt, Shorecrest Director of Educational Technology and STEAMfest Committee Chair. “We launched STEAMfest as an outlet for sharing this kind of engaging, experiential learning with the greater community.”
The community has embraced STEAMfest, drawing families from all over the Tampa Bay Area, as well as community partners from other educational organizations. STEAMfest 2018 welcomed exhibitions from Busch Gardens, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, MOSI, Great Explorations, Mathnasium, Tampa Bay Rowdies, The Wonder Studio, Shorecrest Summer Programs and iD Tech Camps.
The outdoor festival featured close to 40 booths including robotics demonstrations, arts and crafts, design and engineering challenges, and brain teasers. STEAMfest also had an exploring area geared toward children under age six, which was led by faculty of The Experiential School of Tampa Bay, the 3, 4, and 5-year-old program at Shorecrest, and educators from The Wonder Studio, a popular local play-based, multi-sensory program for toddlers and their caregivers.
"We spent two hours at STEAMfest and only saw about half of what there was to offer." said St. Petersburg mom Katie Morrow who brought her two-year-old, Amelia. "We absolutely loved the opportunity to learn about The Wonder Studio. We've signed up for our first class with them. We enjoyed seeing the Shorecrest 'big kids' with their robots. Our daughter made a bug and a butterfly, helped a friend build an egg drop car, and saw a one-eyed owl from Busch Gardens. She painted with a swinging pendulum, which was a lot of fun. She loved learning how a battery can turn a light on, and she brought home her own mini light bulb circuit, which is on our fridge."
The STEAMfest planning committee welcomes partner organizations to join in this growing community celebration of learning through fun. To get involved contact Dr. Anna Baralt at firstname.lastname@example.org.