Community News

‘Stained glass’ project turns STEM into STEAM

Kenny Sanders displays his finished product.
Angelica Martinez, left, and Wil Copenhaver concentrate on their projects.

News Staff Writer

The project that participants in Atmore Public Library’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program worked on last week had little to do with science. Neither was it based in technology, engineering or math.
So the program playbook was revised just a little.
“This is an art project, so we added an ‘A’ today,” said APL Director Hope Lassiter prior to the library’s July 20 segment. “Instead of STEM, today it’s STEAM.”
Despite the category, more than a dozen eager youngsters tackled the project — creating a square “stained glass” production from colored lasagna chips and contact paper.
Lassiter and library staffer Michelle Amerson provided some guidance and oversight, but the creative work was completely that of the individual youngsters, who ranged in age from toddler to preteen.
Each child, except for one who fell asleep in his chair, chose from the multi-colored pasta pieces and carefully placed them in varying patterns on the contact paper. As the miniature masterpieces were completed, Lassiter and Amerson applied a sealant, then placed a second sheet of contact paper atop the first.
One of the biggest surprises was that none of the participants, not even the youngest, wrote on tables or other children with the permanent markers they used to fill in the borders between their respective pieces of “glass.”
The educational program, held in the library’s downstairs meeting room, also became the setting for social interaction, as several young mothers — most of them with babies in their arms or almost-toddlers on their knees — chatted, swapped stories and shared photos from their phones as their oldest children worked.
One young participant apparently (sort of) spoke for the majority in evaluating the session, as Wil Copenhaver, who was with his mother and two younger brothers, nodded his head “yes” when asked if he had fun.
The STEM program concludes this Friday, July 27, at 10.

News photos by Don Fletcher