On January 26, 2020, Woodlawn held the first STEAMfest celebration. Hundreds of youth and families of all ages were welcomed by Woodlawn School for one of the largest community-wide events held on Woodlawn’s campus.
But, this was not the beginning of STEAM at Woodlawn.
It all started in 2013, when a group of Woodlawn parents met to explore ways to enhance the STEAM opportunities at Woodlawn. First, the Woodlawn Robotics and Engineering Club (WREC) was founded. Students, supported by parent volunteers, assembled to, you guessed it, build robots!
In 2015, the “Wow! STEAM” after school program was established. Guest volunteers from the local community and Woodlawn parents introduced new topics in STEAM weekly to students in grades K-5th. The students explored the topics and were inspired by engaging in hands-on activities such as building rockets and transistor radios, learning about combustible and non-combustible engines, studying the 5 senses with models and dissection samples, exploring neurons by constructing replicas and recording neuro-activity, learning how pulse oximeters and X-rays work, and petting reptiles while learning about them and their habitats.
In March of 2016, Woodlawn held its first “Family Science Day” event. Students and their families spent the afternoon exploring a number of hands-on STEAM activities. The event was dubbed “STEAM WARS” with a STAR WARS theme.
The next year the second “Family Science Day” continued the “STEAM WARS” theme, but grew to include additional booths sponsored by colleges, libraries, museums, and other organizations from the community.
Building on past success and the vision of new leadership at Woodlawn, planning for STEAMfest 2020 started in the fall of 2019. This event opened to the public and lasted an entire afternoon. Over 200 families, 400 attendees, visited Woodlawn’s campus to Imagine, Discover, and Explore over 50 STEAM-related booths sponsored by dozens of organizations.
Due to health and safety concerns in 2021, STEAMfest was reimagined. In an effort to continue the momentum of STEAMfest 2020, Woodlawn’s STEAMteam created a virtual event that extended past the local community. On January 30, 2021, the global, 3-week, virtual event was accessed by nearly 50 countries and almost 7000 youth and families participated in over 100 online activities and live streams! The event’s website served roughly 100,000 pages to “mySTEAMfest Explorers” in the comfort of their homes. These online activities continue to be active today!
With a conservative estimate of over 800 in attendance, Woodlawn’s STEAMfest 2022 event reached new heights on April 3, 2022! The 60+ activity booths presented by Woodlawn, other area schools, universities and colleges, libraries, and other businesses and organizations within our community, the addition of food trucks, and Woodlawn’s beautiful 61 acre campus offered something for everyone. Smiles were had by all!
The fun continued throughout 2022 and into the beginning of 2023 with STEAMfest taking part in several community outreach events including the Davidson Farmer Market, Davidson College’s Innovation Week Block Party, and Davidson Land Conversancy’s NatureFest.
Woodlawn’s STEAMfest 2023 soared to further heights with a new record breaking attendance level. Over 1500 visitors, including attendees, volunteers, booth sponsors, teachers, and others within the community, ventured onto Woodlawn School’s campus on March 26, 2023. Nearly 70 organizations participated in creating this years 100+ activities! The Village Square, a new addition for 2023, afforded an opportunity for local educational merchants, artisans, and non-profits to participate in reaching the local community. The Village Square vibe was completed with a stage and food trucks for visitors to be entertained as they relaxed and recharged with their family in order to continue to Imagine, Discover, and Explore STEAMfest 2023!