By Treyce Meredith
Last weekend, thanks to Feather River College, 150 8th graders in Plumas County were exposed to 15 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) careers with a design thinking spin, in an amazing one-day workshop.
I got to lead two groups while at the STEAM Fair. The first was the specialization training. I'm a student in Interaction Design, and I worked with twelve 8th graders to explore Interaction Design: what it is, how it works, its effects on society, and its potential to change the way the world works. From there we jumped into a super spectacular design challenge. First, the kids brainstormed 20 products that they could buy at a Grocery, Hardware or Sporting Goods store. From there, they were paired up and chose one item from each brainstorm and had to combine them into a new product! The kids imaginations went wild with these combinations, my personal favorite being a surfboard that sucks fish into a blender and delivers you sushi while you surf! Another fine example was Lip Tape: a new way to apply lip gloss. It's a lipstick that rolls out like a tape measure: you simply kiss it and bam! Lipstick is applied.
My second team was six kids from six different specializations. Our challenge was to create a "pod" for shade at the Fairgrounds. During the initial brainstorming, my group seemed to be on shaky ground, uncertain of what they should do. I had some of them individually sketch out their ideas, while the others posted notes. The team's energy rose as ideas started freely flowing. Once we started to prototype our ideas, the students paired up to build them out. The ideas ranged from a shaded structure with an aquarium as a floor, and an curved chair that has a roof built in to it.
Overall it was a lot of fun, and we all would have loved more time to keep building on the ideas!