A Fairmont, Minnesota, elementary school hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) “Putting STEAM into STEM Expo” on April 16.
Fairmont’s Community Education and Recreation Program invited K-6 families to attend the STEAM event for free, in an effort to raise awareness of the varied and exciting STEAM options in the real world available to youth and young adults. More than 10 local businesses and organizations participated.
“When our store was invited to the event, it soon became clear that grocery stores are a great fit into the STEAM learning concept,” said Hayley Bewley, marketing merchandising director at the Fairmont Hy-Vee. “We really focused on mathematics and how grocery store employees use mathematics and technology.”
Bewley created a mock grocery store, where students received a grocery list to follow. Students had to choose between varieties of products and estimate the cost of each item to stay within an allowed budget that was given to them. Luke Long, store director at Fairmont, explained to the kids how Hy-Vee employees use mathematics daily at the grocery store.
After students made their estimations on the products and completed their grocery lists, they stopped at the pretend register where Bewley helped them add up the actual prices of the items they chose. Then, Long and Bewley would discuss whether or not they stayed within their allowed budget. If students went over budget, they used subtraction (and returning items) to stay within budget. Then students had to count out their money to cover their total and determine if they would receive any change.
“It was fun to watch how the different age groups of kids worked through the process to overcome the obstacles they struggled with,” Bewley said. “Some students needed more help than others, some from peers, parents, or just thinking out loud. It was great to help the students learn a little bit about the grocery store process and it was fun to see the kids walk away with a smile on their face.”