It was called STEAMnasium – a hands-on learning expo at Academic Festival that featured demonstrations in virtual reality, circuitry, app-based learning and more. Designed to be friendly for early-childhood learners and adults alike, STEAMnasium showcased the experiential learning tools and approaches designed by TC’s Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology.

TC’s Games Research Lab presented work focused on tech-based, interactive learning, showcasing virtual reality headsets and merge cubes — three-dimensional blocks that use QR code technology to transfer physical data into a digital picture when viewed through the lens of an iPad camera. Visitors to the STEAMnasium were able to see how the cubes — which have become a mainstay in the wider tech scene — could be integrated into classroom curriculum on biology to give students a hands-on way to learn about the brain, heart and other vital systems.

Academic Festival 2019

The day included an extensive lineup of presentations, panels and other events featuring TC faculty, students, alumni and staff.

Other displayed projects focused on tessellations (the repeated use of a shape to cover a plane without gaps or overlaps), space-themed work and a miniature city designed to teach young learners about urban planning, circuitry and design. Nicknamed “Lighting Our Community” by its TC designers, the latter activity uses kid-friendly circuit-building tools to understand city composition and learn the basics of electricity — with more advanced options available for students to establish a foundation for engineering education. With it’s bright colorful lights and sustainable use of a cardboard cityscape, the project embodied STEAMnasium’s goal of showcasing what’s possible when science and the arts develop creatig colutions for learning, said co-designer Xiaoxue Du (Ed.D. ’18): “There are so many elements at play when it comes to how we light our community.”

[Read more about innovation from TC’s Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology.]