Experts provide insight into STEAM and literacy
Pine-Richland Middle School (PRMS) hosted presentations on literacy and STEAM. On Literacy Day the seventh-grade reading classes were treated to discussions by local authors. Reading teacher Megan Kohler, who organized the event, said that she hoped the discussions would help outline how writing has shaped and been integral to the authors’ careers. In addition, members of Laroche Basketball Team stopped by to discuss how players use literacy and, of course, show off their hoop skills in the gymnasium.
Local author Dana Faletti presented her newest book, which is part of the young adult trilogy The Whisper Series. She outlined her experiences as a writer and getting published. She joined local writer Dana Allwein, who took time to discuss journalism and technology. In addition, entrepreneur Dan Cardone talked about how he uses writing in blogs to detail his experiences of becoming a pizza maker. Before he was a pizza maker, he was the athletic director at North Hills SD. He said being able to write and publish has helped him launch his second career as the owner of Cardone Pizza. He is also a part-time sports management professor at Robert Morris University, where he has written many articles on coaching.
While Literacy Day focused on writing, STEAM Day focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math topics. Coach Alex Jewart, who owns the local gymnastics’ center, spoke about the principles of physics and how they factors into gymnastics. His coaches deal with speed, acceleration, force and the biomechanics involved in motion. Engineer Deborah Pillar, who specializes in human performance, spoke about how she is tasked with looking at ways to reduce errors by using specific tools and techniques. She works for Westinghouse Electric, a company that designs, constructions and services nuclear power plants. Dr. Holly Lassila, an associate professor at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, discussed the integral role of a pharmacist in the ever-changing health care field. She said pharmacists use math, chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, psychology and more in their work. The event also included architect Charles Delisio, who works for an international firm designing buildings and structures. The team he works with includes engineers and construction managers. He talked about how he must take into account sustainability and life-cycle costs as he considers structures. His firm’s primary client is the U.S. Department of Defense.
In addition, representatives from ComeReady Nutrition, based in Wexford, spoke to students about creating and marketing energy bars for athletes. They spoke about the science behind what goes into their efforts. The project fits in nicely with teacher Laurie Jones’ classroom assignment. Her students are currently studying a Metabolism Engineering Design from their new resource – Amplify Science. In the assignment, students are engaged as student engineering interns at Futura Engineering, a fictitious company. They are tasked with designing and testing recipes for FuturaBars to be used by a nonprofit company in disaster relief situations. The target populations are disaster victims and relief workers. “They will be working through the engineering design process and creating a number of iterations, before they present their final proposals at the end of the unit,” said Jones.