Turning household items into rocket ships, purses, bracelets and chef hats is about more than just creativity, Central Elementary Principal Maria Macedo said of the school’s latest challenge for students.
Central’s STEAM Challenge, a new initiative for the 2019-20 school year, was created to help foster parental involvement, creativity and promote recycling household items, Macedo said.
Each month, students are assigned a common item found in the home and challenged to create something unique with it. The items have included paper towel rolls, paper plates and, this month, a plastic bag, Macedo said.
“The purpose of this is to get some meaningful collaboration with the parents and students,” Macedo said. “This allows them to work with their student on different projects. It helps them with critical thinking, problem-solving, and so this month we had, you know, what could you do with a plastic bag?”
The school’s three second-grade classrooms collaborated and created chef hats using plastic bags. This allowed them to not only participate in the project but to also utilize their “chef” skills in all subjects.
By having a “book tasting,” the kids were able to wear their homemade chef hats as they sampled different books during reading class. They also worked with fractions using pizza boxes to mimic their math skills, Macedo said.
“They really added all subjects into the STEAM Challenge theme,” Macedo said.
As a reward for their creativity, all students who participate in the challenge receive 20 Cat Bucks — Angleton ISD’s currency which allows the students to buy items from the school store, Macedo said.
Second-grader Adaleigh Dowty enjoys the different projects because it lets her use her creativity, she said.
“Our teachers get to see how creative we are,” she said.
“It’s also inspiring to us,” second-grader Jeremiah Brumley said.
While the entire second grade made chef hats out of their plastic bags, sisters Maddie and Addy Holder took to the internet to find a unique way to meet this month’s challenge.
“We made bracelets out of our plastic bags,” Maddie holder said. “We looked online to see what we could come up with. It’s fun because we get to use the bags in any way and we can do anything we want with them.”
The third- and first-grade siblings participated in past challenges, making a parachute and a flower out of paper towel tubes, they said.
With about 600 students, the STEAM Challenge generally has 20 to 25 regular participants, Macedo said.
“It could be just because it’s new this year, but we’re encouraging everyone to get involved with the projects,” Macedo said.
Other students used the opportunity to pair duct tape and the plastic bags to create a purse and wallet, complete with a personalized and colorful design.
Fifth-grade student Masyn Chalmers made a fluffy bow out of her plastic bag.
“I usually wear bows, like, every day,” Chalmers said. “So I knew I wanted to make a bow from this.”
No matter what the household item, the challenges should be fun and experimental, allowing students to bond with others while creating something unique, Macedo said.