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Hands-on-learning students explore STEAM fields

Jacob Holloway, 13, of Niles, left, Jacob Gugliotta, 11, of Girard and Liam Uhler, 13, of Niles, at STEM program at Lordstown.

LORDSTOWN — Developing a business opportunity was the theme that local fourth- to seventh-grade students had to create as they spent time in the Makerspace Room at Lordstown High School.

The hands-on learning activity that included groups of three students was one of the many activities students take part in as part of STEAM Powered Learning coordinated by the Trumbull County Educational Service Center.

Dana Butto, curriculum / instruction supervisor at TCESC, said STEAM Powered Learning is a cooperative program, among Trumbull County Schools and TCESC that develops and promotes the creative talents of students.

She said instruction encourages creativity and openness of expression while stressing process development, self-assessment and evaluation.

Butto said for the recent activity on a business opportunity, the students saw a problem or need in their community and then created a business idea based on each student’s strengths and skill set.

“Successful businesses solve problems or fill in a need. The students are working on passion projects. They research a problem and find a solution by making a product,” she said.

One group created a cellphone that hangs by a string from the ceiling so if you are relaxing on a couch or in bed, you can easily reach for the cellphone.

Areas of study for students are performance arts, mixed media art, engineering, drones, coding and robotics.

Kylee Reynolds, 11, of Warren, marking her second year in the program, said she had made many new friends from other school districts.

Reynolds, who is following mixed media programs, said getting to be creative is what she likes most.

Instructing the students are faculty in different fields of expertise.

The program began in 1991 as Arts / EXCEL and in 2014 was named STEAM Excel to reflect the addition of technology programming.

Butto said the public will have an opportunity to see what students have learned and completed from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 at Lordstown High School.

Students are required to display a high level of participation in all activities. A student’s eligibility is determined by the student’s district.

Shekinah Townsend, 11, of Liberty, who is in her third year in the program, is taking coding classes and said she likes being able to use her imagination and brainstorm ideas.

She said it was nice to be able to choose which pathway she wanted to take part in.

Butto said each student spends two hours in their pathway and then time in the Makerspace Room at Lordstown High School.

“They gave us a project to work on in the Makerspace Room and then allow us to make things to take home,” said Thalia Stanton, 11, of Weathersfield, who is in her second year.

Liam Uhler, 13 of Niles, said he was learning to be creative.

“The Makerspace Room lets us have a lot of freedom.” he said.

Jacob Gugliotta, 11 of Girard, said he likes trying new and different activities in the Makerspace Room.

“We get to try things that we have imagined in our minds,” Jacob Holloway, 13, of Niles, said.

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