S.T.E.A.M. Room September – December 2018

September – October 2018

Have you heard of the “Wood Wide Web?”  How trees are able to communicate beneath the soil with the help of friendly fungal root connections?  (Yay mushrooms!)  Trees communicate with us above the ground in many ways as well…they are nature’s clock revealing the time of year, and trunk growth and bark patterns divulge age and histories.  Trees are generous, giving us all and other life on earth the gift of clean air to breathe, shade and shelter, food, medicine, wood for many useful things as well as for a cozy fire to keep us warm!  How can we follow their lead and be more like them, generous, kind and caring for our community?  How can we take better care of them?  This was the theme that STPS students explored this fall, both inside our steam classroom and out on our church campus.  We took full advantage of the numerous beautiful, mature and diverse trees gracing our hillside and observed and listened to the stories they were speaking!  Did you know that the amazing tree on our Two’s playground is the same species alive when the dinosaurs roamed on our planet?

Here are a few of our favorite related books:

  • A Tree is Nice
  • Little Tree
  • Poetries
  • Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

For grownups:  A fascinating TED talk by Suzanne Simard “How Trees Talk to Each Other”


November – December 2018

Just before our holiday break, STPS students rolled up their sleeves and jumped whole-heartedly into the world of making paint with natural items such as colorful edible berries, spices, wood ash, vegetables, and even mud!  Why, you ask?

If we lived as native people in our area did many, many years ago, we respected and observed our wild animals and nature carefully.  They would teach us ways to gather food, to create warmth and shelter and help us to discover how to use what we could find in our surroundings to celebrate the seasons and special occasions.  Each team of four or five students investigated a distinct “mystery item from nature” before poking, crushing and pulverizing it with a willow branch tool; transforming it into sublime colors then painted onto watercolor paper with feathers, moss and pine branch brushes.  The result was a beautiful mosaic of native paintings (hanging in the school hallway), each a work of art on its own and together a masterpiece.  Just like our STPS students!

A special note:  The younger classes enjoyed mixing their own two shades of paint and had the extra fun of cooking and eating their own wild blueberry jam!

Here are a few of our favorite related books:

  • Thanks to the Animals
  • Wild Berries