William Penn Middle School celebrated its students’ innovation and love of science Friday morning with the 7th annual STEAM Fair Energy Expo. The fair puts “arts” into the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) to encourage more creative thinking in making solutions.

Students and parents fill the gymnasium at William Penn Middle School.

50 or so students created more than a dozen interactive projects, some with Mrs. Kristin Stola’s seventh grade class while others volunteered for fun.

“I have seen a lot of kids, over the seven years that I’ve done this, change,” Slota said. “Kids who did not like school, kids who were not interested, completely changed by eighth grade. It promotes leadership and community involvement.”

Mrs. Slota says all it takes is a love of learning to make incredible things happen.

“These aren’t necessarily my gifted, high-flyers, high standardized test scores students,” Slota explained. “These are just kids who want to make a difference, kids who are showing this love of learning and passion about science. I’ve definitely seen a change and that’s why I keep doing it because it’s a lot of work.”

A homemade claw game machine, hydro power dam, and roller coaster simulator were just some of this morning’s highlights.

Students show off their bright lights to Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula.

Meanwhile, arts teacher Ms. Blair Greiner used paper quilling to teach her students about radial symmetry. As students explained, the process involves rolling strips of paper in different shapes and elaborately gluing them to a base.

“Ms. Greiner did the painting to give us a template of what the project was supposed to look like in the end,” one excited student said about a collective work. “Every paint color is the color of paper we’re going to use.”

“We are bringing the ‘A’ into STEM to make it ‘STEAM,'” Greiner said. “All art is math, science, and physics. Then we incorporate emotion, color, and elements of art and design into those things.”

Greiner explained the practical applications of including arts in the STEM fields. Textures, lines, and math all play a part in interior design, architecture, and designing homes.

Students explain their renewable energy infographic to Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula.

After parents and grandparents had a chance to walk through the displays, fifth graders from students from Oxford Valley Elementary School came in. The older kids explained their projects to their excited, younger peers.

“We have spent weeks making these presentations for you an we hoe that you enjoy them!” William Penn students wrote. “We can’t wait for you guys to have your turn here and we hope you had a great time today!”

Pennsbury Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula and State Rep. Perry Warren also attended, having students explain their