Outreach to Partner Schools through Support from The Grable Foundation

Encouraged and supported by The Grable Foundation to test the sustainability of the STEAM Studio Model approach to learning, with different populations of students, South Fayette searched for schools that were committed to similar STEAM strategies. We selected two diverse public schools as partners for the 2013-2014-school term: Fort Cherry School District and Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS). Fort Cherry and MACS represent two schools ready to transform but lacking the necessary resources. The model proved successful and our partner schools have developed well beyond the scope of the first year of this project. Below is an overview of what we were able to achieve by providing embedded professional development and classroom support to these districts which we are proud to call our friends.

Outreach: Connected Learning Fort Cherry and MACS
Through an eTextile design project  in 2013-2014, students in fifth grade at Fort Cherry and fourth grade at MACS learn the concepts of electrical circuitry, computer programming, and design thinking by making wearable programmable t-shirts. The DIY maker experience is brought into the classroom experience as students use conductive thread to complete circuits and program Arduino boards and LED lights to blink on and off. Professional development and classroom support provided by South Fayette. Impact: 150 students at Fort Cherry and 25 students at MACS. 


Outreach: Curriculum Integration Fort Cherry

Seventh & Eighth Grade: 

Students in Computer Literacy courses I & II completed a series of lessons using Scratch programming language to achieve specific standards addressed in the curriculum. South Fayette’s STEAM Consultant provided professional development to the Fort Cherry Computer Literacy Teacher. The lessons listed below were created and taught independently by the teacher at Fort Cherry after being trained. We couldn’t be more proud of the teacher’s accomplishments.


Lesson 1: This lesson was designed to address the learning outcome “effective and efficient Google searches.” Preparing a weather forecast was the project theme.  Students researched a city and state in the United States and posted the current temperature and amount of precipitation. Using Scratch, they animated the precipitation using movement, such as snow and rain falling. Students made backgrounds of the city and state to represent identifiable features.


Lesson 2: This lesson was designed to address interactive and new technologies. Students created variations of a ball-sensing game using the webcam. Through the use of the webcam students can “hit” or interact the balls and win points when the ball-sensing tool identifies that the ball has been hit.


Lesson 3: This lesson was designed to teach X and Y coordinates.  Students were required to draw a self-portrait and then turn their artwork into a maze using Scratch block-based code. Players were able to score points as they played the games.


Lesson 4: This lesson was used to teach memo writing and presentation skills for communication. Students were tasked with the job of writing an invitation for a celebration such as a holiday event. Using Scratch block-based programming students created interactive invitations using music, sound and animation.

Outreach: Scratch Computer Programming MACS
In this multi-disciplinary 7-week unit led by South Fayette STEAM Consultant, students studied the body systems in science class and students created self-portraits in art class. Students then learned computer programming and used their new knowledge to create an interactive quiz on their body system with Scratch block-based programming language. Each student became a virtual host in their game as they programmed their self-portrait to speak and move around the screen. An African-American video game designer from Entertainment Technology Center and a woman game designer from Schell Games quickly became new role models for the students as they joined in the class periodically to speak about career opportunities in computer programming. Impact: 25 students.
Outreach: Computer Programming Engineering and Design Fort Cherry and MACS

Fifth Grade (Fort Cherry, MACS, & SFSD):

GameJam: South Fayette STEAM Consultant worked independently with each of the partner schools to help students make interactive quizzes and video games using Scratch. On February 12, all 84 students met for the first time at South Fayette Township School District to participate in an engineering, design and programming challenge we fondly call GameJam! Students were assigned to project teams made up of students from each school as they design and build a Rube Goldberg style contraption. Students must engineer a structure and use sensors and motors to move a ball from one location to another between the virtual and physical worlds. Impact: 84 students.

Outreach: Curriculum Integration Fort Cherry

Sixth - Eighth Grade: Students in Fort Cherry’s gifted class created a trivia game based on the history of China using Scratch block-based programming language. Characters in the game walk along the Great Wall of China and players must answer questions correctly or risk starting the game over again. Students programmed in the option of allowing players to receive “hints” to help along the way. Professional development provided by South Fayette STEAM Consultant. Impact: 15

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