Southeast Honors Student Encourages Jackson Children to Explore STEAM Education

steamMore than 300 people, including 112 children in grades K-5 and their parents, grandparents and siblings participated in an evening of fun Nov. 10 in Jackson, Missouri, where they challenged each other to robot racing, learned the language of computers, explored math with interactive games, harnessed the power of electricity and got in touch with their inner artist.

It was all part of a STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math – event organized by Southeast Missouri State University honor student Chloe Dunaway of Rolla, Missouri, for her honors project this fall. The event was held at Jackson North Elementary.

Dunaway planned activities, recruited volunteers, and with the help of iPads and Jackson North Elementary STEAM Club members, helped build a community of smart-thinking, problem-solving, 21st century students. Families participated in activities at various stations, ate pizza and received a free book relating to STEAM education.  At each station, children took part in an activity and then were given a handout with home activity ideas.

steam3In addition to this project, Dunaway, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education, early childhood education option, is working on a second honors project related to learning activities that families took home with them that evening to continue with their children. The honors project also involves Dunaway conducting research relating to this project. She will be interviewing teachers, surveying families and examining student test scores to determine if the family event impacted teacher and parent attitudes about STEAM education and student learning in math.

steam2The activities were partially funded by an undergraduate research grant written by Dunaway, Dr. Susan Davis, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education, and Dr. Julie Ray, chair of the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education. Dunaway was awarded $500 for this project and will present her research results in the spring at Southeast’s annual Student Research Conference.

Dunaway is completing the Jane Stephens Honors Program that helps Southeast students stand out from their peers. The program offers educational opportunities tailored to the special needs, aspirations and motivations of students whose intellectual and creative abilities are outstanding.