PRIEST RIVER — Kids learn things in school every day, but it is putting those skills into play with hands-on activities that can really STEaM things up.
As such, last Wednesday was the second STEaM Olympics at Priest River Lamanna High School, hosted by the STEaM Club, 21st Century Community Learning Center, and Gear Up.
“The STEaM Club’s purpose is for the Olympics to show that by doing STEaM events, you are having fun and using the skills that you learn in school in applicable settings toward careers, hobbies and things you do in your community every day,” said Shannon Wilson, STEaM Club president and Priest River Lamanna High School science teacher, though the Olympics marked her final day with the district as she was moving out of state.
Elanna Philipoff, STEaM Club treasurer and Priest River Elementary teacher, said the STEaM Olympics is an event for the whole family. During the event, kids of all ages, along with their parents, formed teams with the goal of completing activities to gather as many points as possible.
“The STEaM Olympics just brings a new avenue of excitement for learning for the children — and adults,” she said.
The STEaM Club, CCLC and Gear Up had several activities set up for the teams, such as ozobots and drones, as well as one of the more difficult tasks, a breakout box. The goal of the breakout box was for the teams to find clues, and then use those clues to figure out the code to unlock the small box, said PRLHS senior Chloe Livingston.
In addition to the activities through the school programs, several community businesses and organizations had tables set up as well, including Idaho Forest Group with a log scaling activity and the Kalispel Tribe with an animal identification quiz.
“We are looking at native species and resident species — some of them aren’t native — and we can use our deduction skills and identification skills to try and figure out which of the species on the list these belong to,” Mike Lithgow, information and outreach coordinator for the tribe, said as he indicated the antlers, pelts and small animal skulls that were spread across the table.
Lithgow said he has been to both year’s of the STEaM Olympics event, and finds it is an exciting event for the kids and adults who participate. While the Kalispel reservation is in Washington, he said, they do a lot of work in Idaho as well and always appreciate the invitation to share with the kids. Lithgow also appreciates the work Wilson put into the event.
On the other side of the room, the Idaho Army National Guard crew had a puzzle for the kids to put together in the form of an inoperable M16. This tested participants in their problem solving skills as they tried to put the pieces together as quickly as possible.
Staff Sgt. Jason Brewer said the STEaM Olympics is an “awesome” event as it promotes science, engineering, technology and math. He enjoys the STEM areas, he said, though he is not as much of an art person.
“It’s also good to see all the girls being involved in it, too, getting away from those traditional roles,” he said.
This year, North Idaho College had three activities for the teams, including a virtual reality vehicle painting simulation and graphic design. Jaclyn Drapeau with NIC enrollment services had also set up a plinko-style game where the kids would have to answer questions that would help familiarize them with some of the programs at the college.
“We offer a wide array of programs,” Drapeau said. “So we have these guided pathways — we have a particular one that has science, technology and math — so if they are interested in these, we have guided pathways for them to do this once they are of age … So it’s just getting the students familiar with North Idaho College and proposing it as an option for them.”
Idaho Forest Group provided $1,000 that was split up between the three winning teams, with the each member of the first-place team receiving $125, the second-place team got $100 each, and the third-place team got $62.50 each. In addition, Truckin’ for Kids donated $100 to each of the first-place team members, for a total of $225.
The winners of the STEaM Olympics were:
• Team “Beastmode 2411” took first 154 points. Team members include PRE students Trace Storro, 9; Jayda Storro, 10; and Layton Gains, 9, with parents Angela Gains and Tiffany Storro.
• Team “Trophy Snatchers” took second place with 149 points and consisted of PRLHS students Shelby Hanna, 15; Jordan Phillips, 17; Kymara Fulton, 15; Caleb Gleason, 18; and Bradley Gleason, 14.
• Team “Hirst Hustlers” took third place with 146 points and consisted of PRE students Carsen Hirst, 10, and Mason Hirst, 8, with parents Steve and Hannah Hirst.
Special award winners include:
• Strongest Player: Owen Kelly
• Most Spirited: Raynon Price
• Future Einstein: Tanner Hughes
• Best Teammate: Ruger Schaper
• Best Mentor: Loralee Cooper
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.