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Blake Tostemson plays with “boogers” made of Borax at Georgia Morse Middle School’s first STEAM event Oct. 22 in Pierre.

Hotdogs, boogers, marbles, magnets and bingo, how might it all come together? Georgia Morse Middle School’s principal Kyley Cumbow, originally from Nebraska, and head of GMMS since 2006, had a plan for a first time ever Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics and Medicine event.

“It is actually STEAM squared,” Morgan VonHaden, project director for South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center said. “It is what STEAM Squared covers. It is important because it ties in all aspects of life. Not only is it sciences and technologies, but it is also adding in the English and language arts, so it’s cross sectored.”

Last night, Oct. 22, GMMS opened their first 〖(STEAM)〗%5E2 with bingo, door prizes, hot dogs and chips.

“It’s the first time ever,” Cumbow said. “We are trying something different and doing a family night.”

After everyone had a quick bite and the rounds of bingo ended, it was time to get down to the business of learning, hands-on.

“One of our goals is to do more activities for our families in the community,” Cumbow said. “So, it’s just a start. It takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it.”

There was a station to learn about magnets. One for recognizing different smells. One to build paper airplanes and one to make spin-art, to name a few.

“This was an amazing night tonight,” VonHaden said. “There was a great turnout and we had 14 different STEAM stations and the kids had a ton of fun and I think the volunteers almost had as much fun, if not more.”

The spin art station was run by Pastor Craig Wexler. It involved taking the three primary colors, a coffee filter and a salad spinner. Once the filter was placed in the spinner, squirts of paint were added, the top to the spinner was attached and then spun. Students learned about how the primary colors could combine to make new colors.

“We are just trying to be very creative and not be a school that runs for seven hours and that’s it,” Cumbow said. “Partner with our families to make this a good community. “

Boogers? Yes. Borax, some glue, water and little food coloring. There were plenty of smiles and inquisitive looks with scrunched noses as little fingers squished into their concoctions of green masses.

“I always want it to be a packed house,” Cumbow said. “I am not disappointed I think it’s a great start, and the feedback from families, they loved it.”

Cumbow said she is looking at doing something for the families once a month going forward.

Coffee with Cumbow is one upcoming idea. Cumbow plans to meet parents at the Branding Iron Bistro, sip coffee or tea, and talk about the middle school.

“Hear from our parents,” Cumbow said. “Hear what they want, need and their ideas. We are just trying to be very creative and not be a school that runs for seven hours and that’s it. Partner with our families to make this a good community.”

As much as it was about the science and families, it was about having fun.

“Just getting kids learning with their hands, having in a fun environment, it just sparks that interest,” said VonHaden. “It’s fun to spark interest in a young age, like in middles school, so then they know boys, girls, can do science going into high school and into higher education.”

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