STEMFest Success in Anglophone North School District

Posted: May 16, 2017

They arrived, planned, designed, built and conquered, but most of all they had fun doing so! “They” refers to the students, parents and teachers from Anglophone North School District, who attended STEMFest 2017, which was held at James M.Hill Memorial High School this past Saturday. In fact close to 200 people participated in a “Carnival” themed day of STEM based activities, with the end goal of creating Cardboard Arcade games.

Participants from all over the District began arriving early Saturday morning and were directed into the auditorium for the opening kickoff which involved important messages from Superintendent Beth Stymiest, Technology Coordinator Jamie O’Toole and special guest Jacob Lingley of Brilliant Labs. During his talk, Lingley shared the video “Caine’s Arcade” which would provide plenty of inspiration for the day. The video told the story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad's used auto parts store. An entire summer went by with no customers stopping to play, until one day a chance meeting with a filmmaker named Nirvan, would eventually lead to hundreds of people showing up to play games in Caine’s Arcade.

The challenge issued to participants at STEMFest was simple…be creative, innovative, work collaboratively and have fun building the most incredible cardboard arcade game you could ever imagine. Kids and adults alike wasted no time at all as they began the brainstorming and design process, while stockpiling cardboard, duct tape, elastics, cups, straws, strings, and countless other materials. Students were divided into build rooms of K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12, while a separate build room housed parents and District employees, with Superintendent Stymiest right in the middle of things as part of a 4 person team.

During Lunch Break “Golden Ticket” winners from the ASD-N STEM Fairs had their projects on display for all to see, while some prizes were drawn. After lunch, participants were given another hour of building before being asked to bring their final game creations to the Library area, where the Arcade showcase and game playing would take place. It was a sight to behold as kids and adults proudly marched their outstanding arcade games to the Library in what was unofficially dubbed the “Arcade Parade”.

For the next hour the participants were able to play each other’s games and present their own in what was truly an amazing experience. Game designers gave instructions, discussed rules and many even gave out prizes. It was remarkable and inspiring to see how engaged everyone was and the pride taken in their creations.

The day wrapped up with prizes being awarded for creativity and best engineered games, as well as random draws from popped balloons on a STEMFest balloon wall and a chance for adults to win prizes by playing the famous Price is Right game of “Plinko”. All in all it was a tremendous and powerful day of learning, creativity and inspiration. Thank you to all of the volunteers and organizers for making this event possible.

To view the complete STEMFest Gallery please check out the following link: