S.T.E.A.M. Week volcano experiments prove learning fun


"Learning  needs to be fun. That’s the predominant philosophy behind the Goddard School,” according to Butch Aggen, owner of the Cedar Park school. 


This week, the Goddard schools in Cedar Park and Leander held their annual S.T.E.A.M. week — one of many themed activities that the school provides during the year which  takes their students on a journey through science and the arts. 


This year’s projects included the making of a short “Day in the life of a Goddard student” movie, producing a ‘claymation’ stop-motion animation short, creating animated ‘flip-books’ and, in Shelbie McGarrah’s class,  re-creating a volcano using vinegar, baking soda and food  coloring. Another class had a chess tournament and  learned about the relationship between chess and mathematics. 


“The  experience  is  our  product. Teaching them how to  ask  questions and think for themselves is what we do,” says Heather Juelfs, the  Cedar  Park location’s  executive  director. 


“The kids asked ‘would it be hot?’” Juelfs said, referring to the volcano re-creation. “Kids have to learn to ask questions and gain skills through experience in order to be successful in the future. I did public education for a few years and it was difficult to watch them teach for standardized testing. We’re teaching them how to be innovative and be productive in a fast changing world.”


Juelfs said the school’s S.T.E.A.M. week is an integral part of the school’s curriculum, which she said was devel- oped from research on how children learn while they’re having fun. According to Juelfs, Goddard educators plan daily activities that challenge young students, from infancy, to think and create in the areas of science, technology, engineer- ing, arts and mathematics.


“As a school we have many programs that we highlight throughout the year,” said Juelfs. “In a few weeks we’ll have 21st century learning week. We do a lot of different fun weeks. We also take a lot of pictures and send them home to the parents so that they can see firsthand what their children are producing.”


The "Day In The Life" video will be played in the lobby of the Cedar Park school.