Host an International Day With STEAM Projects

By Tania Cowling

At an International Day at a STEM charter school, each class focused on a single country with information, artifacts and food. What impressed me were the “make and take" crafts involving STEAM skills in relation to a craft that symbolized the country. Here are a few ideas from this amazing event.

Israel

For Israel, the students made Star of David crafts using Popsicle sticks. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the Star of David is a six-pointed figure consisting of two interlaced equilateral triangles, used as a Jewish and Israeli symbol.

 

You will need:

  • 6 wooden craft sticks
  • Blue paint, paintbrushes
  • Heavy-duty glue or low-temp glue gun
  • Materials to enhance the project (optional)

Directions:

  1. Paint the sticks blue. Let dry.
  2. Glue three sticks together to form a triangle. Do the same with the other three sticks.
  3. Lay one triangle on top of the other (inverted) and glue in place. See photo.

Italy


 

Gondola (Sink and Float Project)

A gondola is a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat with a high prow and stern used on the canals of Venice, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The boat is propelled by a person (gondolier) who uses a rowing oar. Since Venice is a city surrounded by water canals, boats are an important means of transportation.

You will need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Basin
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Have the students take a sheet of aluminum foil and construct a gondola (see photo).
  2. Place these boats into a basin of water and see if they float or sink. Talk about the material and why it floats. What happens if you put materials inside to represent people? Does it continue to float or sink? Do you think gondolas need to be made of other materials in real life?
 

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. It stands 187 feet high.

You will need:

  • Cardboard toilet tubes
  • Grey paint (optional)

Directions:

  1. Insert several cardboard toilet tubes inside one another to make a leaning tower. Paint it grey if you wish.
  2. Use a black marker to draw the long windows like the sketch.

Australia

Boomerang Craft

A boomerang is a flying tool that is best known for its ability to return to the thrower. It used to be made of wood, but most of the modern boomerangs are made of other materials.

 

You will need:

  • Sheet of cardboard
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Aboriginal Symbols for decoration

 

Directions:

  1. Cut out a boomerang shape from foam or cardboard.
  2. Decorate the flying tool with symbols from the chart below.

http://www.aboriginal-dreamtime.net2go.info/Aboriginal/Aboriginal_Symbole.htm

South Korea

Make a Sogo Drum

The Sogo drum is a double-headed frame drum used by people in South Korea. The player holds the handle of the drum in one hand and strikes the drum with a stick or beater.

 

You will need:

  • Two paper plates (Chinet-type)
  • Stapler
  • Tongue depressor stick
  • Tape
  • Unsharpened pencils or chopsticks
  • Markers to decorate the drum

Directions:

  1. Take two plates and staple them together to form a drum. See photo.
  2. Draw the ying/yang symbol and color it red and blue, similar to the South Korean flag.
  3. Hold the drum by the stick and strike it with a pencil or chopstick.

Presidential Coin Sorting

United States

Place an assortment of coins on the table and allow the children to sort them according to presidents.

Penny – Abraham Lincoln

Dime – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nickel – Thomas Jefferson

Quarter – George Washington

Half Dollar (.50) – John F. Kennedy

Germany

Create a Pretzel

A Pretzel is a type of baked bread shaped into a twisted knot. This food is common in Germany.

Provide white or brown clay and encourage the students to roll clay snakes and form it into a pretzel knot.

These are only a few of the many countries that were represented at the school’s International Day. There are so many countries to choose and projects that involve STEAM techniques to use. Remember STEAM is totally hands-on. Provide materials and a picture and let the students construct the craft to the best of their ability. It doesn’t have to be perfect – the process is the main concern.