Photos courtesy of St. Margaret Mary School
Photo above: A life-size mural of St. Francis of Assisi, created by St. Margaret Mary kindergartners and first graders, backs the Schneidau family and trumpets the evening’s theme of caring for creation
“STEAM” – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics – came together April 12 at St. Margaret Mary School in Slidell during an evening of hands-on activities and student work focusing on the theme of “Exploring Biodiversity.” The family event celebrated the stunning variety of living things and human beings’ important role as the stewards of God’s creation.
“The more our students know about their ecosystem and their own backyard, the better they can take care of it,” said Lisa Ramirez, art teacher and STEAM night director. “Exploring biodiversity together helped us live our St. Margaret Mary motto of ‘Pray, Think, Make and Do’ as a school community,” Ramirez added.
The interactive displays included chicks and butterflies in various phases of development, a plant discovery station, art-making booths and a station at which visitors could sample local strawberries and various types of honey. A simulated nighttime swamp tour enabled visitors to walk through a swamp filled with glow-in-the-dark nocturnal wetland creatures created by grades K-2, complete with swamp sounds. Visitors were encouraged to “play with” various educational tools used by students throughout the year: they operated Dash robots as “pollinators” (moving yellow pom-poms across pretend flowers), took part in LEGO robotics challenges, created their own video game characters, played a video game designed by a St. Margaret Mary student, experimented with 3D modeling on iPads and watched the school’s 3D printers at work. Middle school students presented a storyboard of a parable they had written on Google slides. Other religion tie-ins included artwork and mobiles inspired by the writings of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecologists, and a “virtual museum” of saints.