For 12 days, McDowell County Schools offered students from preschool age to middle school the chance to learn about STEAM activities by providing fun and interactive workshops.

And, at the end of the 12 days, MCS held their annual STEAM Fair at Universal Manufacturing Center where individual and classroom winners from different schools were named.

“We wanted to make sure that all children in McDowell County participated so we had activities from Pre-K through eighth grade. We partnered with McDowell Tech and Early College, and had high school science and math teachers come down and work with the students,” said Susan Westall, director of teacher support programs, at December’s school board meeting. The events were organized by AIG Specialists from each school.

The 12 days of STEAM started with eighth graders at East and West where they worked on building rubber band-powered cars. The students were given a certain amount of materials to create their car with the goal of having it move frontward and backward.

Seventh graders were treated with a forensics activity involving local police officers. Students learned about fingerprinting and applied them to real-world applications.

Sixth graders participated in a brain teasers event with Beverly Watts, MTCC and Early College students and staff. Fifth graders worked on break-out boxes, which is basically a puzzle with a bunch of locks on it and they had to figure out how to open them using QR Code readers, scratch cards and invisible ink. Fourth graders got a presentation with Science Kid Senses program at Universal, and third graders had a Little Bits Challenge, where they learned about circuits, inputs and outputs, working with drones, virtual goggles and a robotic arm.

Second graders were treated with a musical presentation by local composer Nathan Shirley and his Science of Sound program. He brought tons of instruments to show students how music and sound go together.

“I have never seen second graders so engaged. It was a great experience,” said Westall.

Kindergarten, first grade and Pre-K were given activities to do in their classrooms, she said.

“Media specialists helped with the kindergarten events, and in first grade art teachers came in and facilitated that. We had a lot of resources to help us,” said Westall.

The 12 days of events ended with the traditional STEAM Expo at Universal and MTCC where students, classrooms and schools showed off their projects and winners were announced. As a winner in the third through 12th grades, they were invited to the regional Science/Engineering Fair at Appalachian State University on Tuesday, Dec. 19. For more photos of the events, visit

BOX: K-3 STEAM Awards by School:

Eastfield Global Magnet School

Science and Engineering:

First Place: Senior Salas’ Class-3Rs

Second Place: Mrs. Figueroa’s Class-Someone is Sitting in My Chair

Third Place: Mrs. Hughes’ Class –Soil Crayons

Glenwood Elementary School


                First Place: Mrs. Truesdell’s Class-Our New Shoes

                Second Place: Mrs. Ellie’s Class-New Shoes for Pete


                First Place: Mrs. Blakes Class-Measuring Fences

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mrs. Carrie’s Class-A Cool Home for Osbert

                Second Place: Mrs. Burleson’s Class-Kite-Tastic

                Third Place: Ms. Leslie’s Class-Egg Tower; Ms. Taylor and Mrs. Carter’s Classes-What Cleans a Penny Best?

Marion Elementary School


                First Place: All third grade classes-Wizard of Oz

                Second Place: Mrs. Corson’s Class-Recycled Art Vase


                First Place: Mrs. Loftis’ Class-Shape Strength

                Second Place: Mrs. Cowart’s Class-Skittles

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mrs. Suttles’ Class-Sound Travel

Second Place: Mrs. Duncan’s Class-Whatever Floats Your Boat

Third Place: Mrs. Phillips’ Class-Does Sound Travel Best Through a Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

Nebo Elementary School

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mrs. Deal’s Class-Which Cup Best Prevents Ice from Melting?

                Second Place: Mrs. Calloway’s Class-Most Popular Random Number

                Third Place: Mrs. Hughes’ Class-Taste Perception

North Cove Elementary School

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mrs. Daniel’s Class-Getting Warmer

                Second Place: Mrs. Moss’s Class-Mayflower Ship

                Third Place: Mrs. Olson’s Class-Water Drop Racer

Old Fort


                First Place: Mrs. Lindley’s Third Grade Art Class-Cardboard Sculptures

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mrs. White’s Class-Will the Length of the Strong make the Zoomball Go Faster?

                Second Place: Mrs. Dixon’s Class-Pumpkin Investigation

                Third Place: Mrs. Gilliam’s Class-Creepy Carrots

Pleasant Gardens


                First Place: Mrs. Thornton’s Class-Sweet Turkey Art

                Second Place: Mrs. Kuechenmeister’s Class-Quirky Turkey

                Third Place: Lily Shaw-Homage to the Square


                First Place: Mrs. Jordan’s Class-Which Has More?

                Second Place: Gracie Poteat-How Much is 1,000,000?

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Danika Harmon-Which Cat Enrichment Toy will the Cat Interact with the Most?

                Second Place: Wilx Ray-How Does a Chick Breathe inside an Egg?

                Third Place: Israel Velasquez-Homemade Anemometer

West Marion Elementary School

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Mary Davis-All American Burgers


BOX: 3-5 Awards Listed by School

Eastfield Global Magnet School


                First Place: Hannah Hardy, Izabella Dvorak-Quilt

                Second Place: Haylie Lopez-Dress Painting

                Third Place: Phoebe Bell-Carson House Painting

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Legend Sheehand, Damian Gregory, Gustavo Acevedo-Color of Health

                Second Place: Tiffany Marvel, Joanna Lowery, Gage Johnson-Worms in Action

Glenwood Elementary School


                First Place: Lora Newton-Tree Rain

                Second Place: Ana Collins-Pinch Clay Pot

                Third Place: Will Maybe-Sunset

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Chloe Lytle, Ashanti Ervin, Samantha Wild, Deanna Lewis-High in the Sky

                Second Place: Ella Morgan, Kylie Biddix, Hunter Brown, Yami Ibarra-Renewable Energy

Marion Elementary School


                First Place: Carter Matthews, Christy Luong-Brown Panda Recycled Materials


                First Place: Cooper Phillips-No More Brooding over Hatching

                Second Place: Kymora Young, Emma Lawson-Soda and Mentos Reaction

                Third Place: Ben Shaw-I Want to Go Faster

Nebo Elementary School


                First Place: Emily Jones, Lexie Murray, Riley Ross-Flower Pot

                Second Place: Zoe Zullo-Lock and Pop

                Third Place: Harley Juarez, Orrin Queen, Sean Tyo-Bear Patrol


                First Place: Jacob Davis-Baseball Hitting Angles

                Second Place: Landon Brewer-Not by a Long Shot

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: Elise Pritchard-Build a Bridge to a Better Future

                Second Place: Rylan Parkins-Football Stances

                Third Place: Matthew Kirkpatrick-Wildfiresv 

North Cove Elementary


                First Place: Kalli Blankenship-Yucky Junk to Front Yard Junk

                Second Place: Rafe Biddix-Sunflower Windmill

                Third Place: Abigail Grindstaff-The Wizard of Oz


                First Place: Aspen Douglas-On a Whole Other Plane

                Science and Engineering:

                First Place: David Cifuentes, Juan Jeronimo, Joshua Ellis-Safety Traffic Device

                Second Place: Jehu Taylor-Magnetic Propulsion Wheel

                Third Place: Bailey Moss-Friction

Old Fort Elementary


First Place: Dixie Gardner-Repurposing Trash

Second Place: Brianna Watring-Jump Rope

Third Place: Alina Rector-Handmade Doll

Science and Engineering:

First Place: Dakota Aldridge-My Helping Hand; Meredith Carroll-Fresh is the New Salty

Second Place: Hunter English-The Cleaning Machine

Third Place: Tristan Moore-Ice Ice Baby

Pleasant Gardens Elementary


                First Place: Mackenzie Goley, Addison Staton- Goin, Goin, Gone

                Second Place: Griffin Young, Tryp Young-Pitching Energy

                Third Place: Christian Elliott, Kykson Rinnert-It’s Outta the Park!


                First Place: Andrew Jones-BioAlgae

                Second Place: Macey Allison, Katie Shosho-A Reason to Smile

                Third Place: Rileigh Queen-How Will it Grow?

Aaliya Parker, Sage Young: Non-poisonous Glow Sticks

West Marion Elementary


                First Place: Mrs. MacDonald’s Class-Clothing of the 1700’s

                Second Place: Evangiline Thomas-Homemade Doll


                First Place: Angel Arriola Sierra, Laura Ambrocio-Jeronimo, Anthony Hilario Gutierrez-Winning Numbers


                First Place: Sophie Davis-Chill Out and other Solutions for Freezing Water; Angel Arriola, Lily Combs, Lola Hensley-Solar Oven

                Second Place: Breianna Wallace, Brooklyn Davis, Camryn Morgan-Soil Erosion

                Third Place: Jasmine Cazarez, Claire Smith, Landon Dowdle, Levi Wyatt, Raegan Hemphill, Leia Farr-Blood Oxygen

BOX: 6-12 Awards Listed by School

West McDowell Middle


                First Place: Kaylee Loftis, Kasey Mace, Ryker Smith, Maddi O’Kelley-Messy ‘Merica

                Second Place: Shea House, Autumn Thomas, Jewly Day-StarLife School of Arts

                Third Place: Mason Collins, Duece Barnes-Eye of Many Colors


                First Place: Joseph Moss-The Math Behind the Rubik’s Cube; Landry Crawford-Jump

                Second Place: Isaiah Joyner-Who’s In; Meghan Gardner-Math Behind Pot

                Third Place: Jesse Barrier-Life or Death; Cadence Wyatt-The Gift of Adoption


                First Place: Kaitlyn DeHart-Family Fingerprints; Brady Jenkins-Fade to Black

                Second Place: Linen Owens-Mummies; Jonathan Jordan, Aaron Cowles-The American Predator

                Third Place: Elizabeth Arrowood-Store Bought vs. Homemade Detergent; Autumn Anderson-The Greenhouse Effect

Foothills Community School


                First Place: Hayley Clark, Hannah Rose Wilson-Solar Powered Car

                Second Place: Melody Miller, Jayden Pupoh-Environment, Lines, Emotions, Oh My!

McDowell High School


                Mrs. Shaw’s Class-Helix of Change

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