Washington Pavilion Launches Expanded STEAM Educational Initiative

October 12, 2021

Washington Pavilion Launches Expanded STEAM Educational Initiative 
New programming announced with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math education

Sioux Falls, SD - Known as the regional home for arts and science education for more than two decades, the Washington Pavilion is launching a new focus on STEAM education with the goal of creating new learning opportunities for regional youth.

The acronym STEAM refers to opportunities to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math in an educational setting. Studies have shown the success of this learning method, especially for those interested in pursuing careers in these sectors.

“We want to be where the scientists, engineers and artists of tomorrow come to play today,” said Darrin Smith, President and CEO. “We already offer so many great science and art opportunities in our museums and educational programs, and we’re continuously looking for ways to tailor our offerings to this important educational need, all while giving kids a place to explore and have fun while learning.”

“We see a gap in local STEAM educational opportunities,” said Madelyn Grogan, Director of Education. “Through our museums, preschool, classes, camps and other offerings, we want to give kids in our community the opportunity to learn more about science, technology, engineering, art and math – all with the goal to expand their creativity and critical thinking skills. The best part is that at the Washington Pavilion, kids can be enriched and entertained!” 

In addition to STEAM opportunities in the Kirby Science Discovery Center, Visual Arts Center, Graham Academy Preschool, educational camps, classes and other programs, the Washington Pavilion recently created and refocused additional programs to utilize this educational method even more, including the new No School STEAM Days.

No School STEAM Days give families the opportunity for an affordable day camp on Sioux Falls School District in-service days. These non-holiday no school days often challenge working parents to find childcare. The Washington Pavilion offered the first of these day camps on October 12. 

Students explored the Kirby Science Discovery Center and Visual Arts Center, watched a science-focused movie in the Wells Fargo CineDome and participated in an art lab and hand-on activities in partnership with Sanford Promise educators. Attendees learned to think like scientists by investigating scientific phenomena, including polymers, chemical reactions and diffusion. 

The next No School STEAM Day is March 18, 2022, and spaces are still available for $25 per child. Students will use different scientific techniques to visualize human cells and DNA, including extracting DNA from fruit and using microscopes to see cells. Scholarships are also offered. 

Additional STEAM opportunities: 
•    Kirby Science Discovery Center – More than 100 exhibits featuring elements of STEAM including temporary traveling exhibit Bug Squad.
•    Avera Stage Science – Daily science experiments in the Kirby Science Discovery Center.
•    Jack’s Imagination Lab – Opportunities to build, create and explore including special programs on Tinker Tuesdays.
•    Raven Children’s Studio – Kid-friendly art activities in the Visual Arts Center including special projects on Friday Crafternoons.
•    Graham Academy Preschool – Curriculum to encourage problem-solving skills, creativity and social and emotional growth.
•    Pavilion in the Classroom – Resources for educators to bring art and science-themed activities into their classrooms.

What is STEAM education?
STEAM education is an approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, art, and math to guide student exploration and critical thinking. Through this holistic approach, students are encouraged to exercise both creativity and logic at once.

What’s the difference between STEM and STEAM?
The difference lies in the approach to scientific concepts. STEM focuses explicitly on the hard scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical skills to drive progress or create a new concept. In STEAM curricula, students leverage both hard and soft skills to solve problems. The result is out-of-the-box thinking and creative problem-solving needed in today’s workforce.

What is the goal with STEM and STEAM learning?
The United States suffers from a worker shortage in fast-growing STEM industries, including manufacturing, technology and engineering. The educational method encourages interest in these industries for both boys and girls with the goal of creating a more skilled workforce to meet the demands of tomorrow.
For more information about STEAM and other programing opportunities, please visit www.washingtonpavilion.org/steam 

About Washington Pavilion Management, Inc (WPMI) 
Washington Pavilion Management, Inc is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the largest arts organization in the state. The management company oversees and programs two historic City of Sioux Falls facilities: the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science and the Orpheum Theater Center. The company also provides professional management services, including administration; arts, science and educational programming; ticketing; event management; marketing; and more to other arts and nonprofit organizations. For information, please call 605-367-6000 or visit www.washingtonpavilion.org