Strolling through a STEAM trail


HEYWORTH, Ill. (WCIA) – Centennial Park looks like any typical community park; it has a baseball field, playground equipment, and picnic areas. But if you explore deeper, you will find a hidden gem.

The idea for this steam stroll started with fourth-graders at Heyworth Elementary School during the 2018-2019 school year.

“You just never know what you’re gonna have to work with when you come out here,” says Enrichment Teacher Anna Hanrahan.

Hanrahan says she was looking for a project that would be a learning activity for students. She also wanted to give back to the community.

“We wanted to provide the community with something special, you know, we wanted something for community members to do, because there’s not a whole lot to do around here,” says Hanrahan.

She also wanted to raise awareness of what steam is – steam stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Each sign along the trail encourages children to take a closer look at what’s around them. All while interacting with nature. The students decided what each activity should be.

“My favorite part would be the engineering sign because you can use the sticks that you find to just make cool stuff,” says Sixth Grader Braxton Denning.

The ‘art’ sign asks you to make a small pattern or picture on the ground using sticks and rocks.
The ‘technology’ sign encourages you to snap a photo of your adventure and post it on the steam stroll Facebook page by using a QR code.

“We’re really focusing on those future-ready skills, where kids focus on communication and collaboration and critical thinking and creativity. And this was just a really great project to bring all of that together and just have this physical manifestation of it coming together and being able to enjoy it for a long time,” says Hanrahan.

“They had a driving question on how can we highlight something for our community members, and Centennial Park is a wonderful thing to highlight,” says Principal Matt Andrews.

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