Students attending Reynoldsburg STEM Middle at Baldwin Road spent the first two days of school last week building giant puzzles, running relay races and learning the "Habits of Mind."

Students attending Reynoldsburg STEM Middle at Baldwin Road spent the first two days of school last week building giant puzzles, running relay races and learning the "Habits of Mind."

Teacher Tonya Pryor said STEMfest on Aug. 10 and 11 is a signature event at the school.

She said students rotated between indoor and outdoor stations.

"In the indoor rotation, students visited our common areas, such as the cafeteria, the Literacy Lounge and the Foundry, and discussed how Habits of Mind behaviors were used in those areas," she said. "The outside rotation consisted of many team-building and critical-thinking games, such as relay sponge-bucket races and extreme tic-tac-toe."

She said the students also built a giant puzzle together and had to figure out how to flip a tarp by working together but not using their hands.

There also was a dunk tank and an inflatable obstacle course that "encouraged students to learn perseverance and to lead and act responsibly," Pryor said.

Two years ago, she said, the student body selected the five Habits of Mind -- collaborate, think critically, persevere, act responsibly and lead -- as elements they believe make a successful student.

The Foundry is a fabrication lab or "maker space" that the school set up last year. Teacher Sandy Guinto said the Foundry's use would be expanded this year.

"We will still hold our art of math classes there, but we are expanding to have other classes use the space as well," she said.

She said five of Baldwin's teachers attended the Central Ohio FAB Lab conference this past summer to learn how to use the Foundry equipment and how to incorporate the equipment and space into their curriculum.

"In addition, we are introducing a mobile Foundry cart that teachers can check out to take some of the smaller tools to their classrooms to use on projects," she said.

Similar to the larger Fab Lab at eSTEM Academy, only on a smaller scale, the Foundry has tools such as drills and a laser, a CNC (computer-controlled cutting machine), a 3-D printer and other devices for project-based science, technology, engineering and math projects.

Pryor said STEMFest ran very smoothly.

"There were a lot of things happening at once and we were moving around 300 students on two very hot days to different activities throughout the morning," she said. "The students were very well-behaved and seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

She said it took a lot of teamwork on behalf of the entire Baldwin Road staff to pull off STEMfest.

"I think it went amazingly well," she said. "We also appreciate the volunteers who came in to help run water and Popsicle stations for the students."

Principal Michelle Watts said she hopes STEMfest helps students learn the school's core values.

"Our main hope is to build a strong community of learners who share the core values of our Habits of Mind and build trust and openness with each other," she said. "It is a great way to break down walls and get kids talking to each other and for staff to meet students outside of a traditional first day."

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