Dan Wenkel and Dr. Beth Robelia, dedicated science teachers from Minnesota, returned with fellow educator and art teacher, Chris Weihe, for another engaging STEAM week in March. STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art, & mathematics, is tightly coupled with innovation and experiential learning. The trio brought down 14 suitcases packed with supplies, including 3 sewing machines, K’nex, snap circuit kits, and more. The week’s focus entailed experimentation, problem solving, building, failing, and persevering. As the kids reflect, it was recognized as, “THE BEST WEEK EVER!”
Dan and Beth had the youngest students building with giant Duplo Legos, launching paper rockets and predicting flight projections, color mixing, building race tracks, and engaging in countless hands on activities. Beth used candy and “fact family” cards to teach our preschoolers addition and subtraction, which the students loved.
Older students examined samples under the microscopes that were brought down during their previous trip. Students also engaged in an engineering challenge where they were grouped and given the task of creating the most durable yet cost effective tower. Students were offered materials like wooden posts, rubber bands, wire, glue, and rope, which they could “purchase.” After understanding various design constraints, students began calculating the cost of their supplies before building. At the end of the week, the towers were tested. While some were crushed under pressure, many survived and our young engineers are eager for larger scale engineering challenges.
Students were taught the importance of recycling fabric, especially clothing. Students became fabric engineers and designed, cut patterns, and actually sewed articles of clothing and accessories for the youngers students. Creations were modeled during the end of the week fashion show. The boys also sewed cushion and couch covers for the living room couch.
Ms. Chris discussed upcycling and taught students to fuse plastic grocery bags with an iron to create purses, pencil cases, and durable bags. Students also learned how to make paper and created ecofriendly paper seedling cups. Students intend to plant seeds in them, and once sprouted, students will place the cups inside garden where they’ll naturally decompose.
Additionally, students were taught how to print images on fabric. They drew images, traced them with silicone to create a print plate, applied ink, and pressed their images onto fabric totes, creating unique designs. Ms. Chris taught the kids the importance of addressing value, along with positive and negative spaces in art. Students also learned about background washing and the various ways to paint with water colors. After school, individual art tutorials were given to the interested aspiring artists.
The kids weren’t the only ones to benefit from the week. The guests taught our nannies how to operate the sewing machines that were kindly donated. They also blessed our teachers with countless educational resources and professional development, where cognitively guided instruction techniques were discussed.
One of the most impressive projects was the garden renovation. With the help of Dan, the mission has a new and durable garden. An eavestrough was placed to guide water into a series of barrels that make up the water collection system. A composter was built so that students can place food scraps and leaves from the yard within to produce rich soil.
ROCKET MAN PEOPLE
Launching paper rockets!
UNDER THE LENS
Josue reviews the microscope lesson
UPCYCLING: FROM PLASTIC TO FASHION
Enolyka and Lorvens using homemade paper to produce eco-friendly seedling cups
Last weekend, students at Have Faith Haiti were treated to an all-day field trip to an ecological reserve called Wynne Farm. Taking a multi-faceted approach to nature preserve, Wynne Farm is one of the few nature attractions, ecological parks, environmental schools, and yoga retreats in Haiti. Wynne Farm is located up the mountain south of Port-au-Prince amidst breathtaking ambiance. Its mission is to teach students, farmers, and visitors locally and globally about conservation, reforestation, and sustainable organic farming.
During the trip, sponsored by Dr. Richard Keidan of Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI and friend of the mission Patty Anderson, students toured the farm and visited with the animals, all while learning about the benefits of environmental stewardship.
They also went horseback riding, hiking, learned a Brazilian & martial arts dance, made earrings from recycled plastic bottles, and converted recycled paper into charcoal bricks!
Science Week came to Have Faith Haiti, thanks to Dan and Beth Wenkel, two scientists from Minnesota who devoted an entire week to different science projects and lessons for students at every education level.
First and foremost, a lesson on safety. Mirlande and Jimmyna found the goggles cool enough to wear at night, too!
Our youngest learned how to use pipettes and test tubes, a great first lesson for future chemists! They also made pinwheels, which may one day inspire them to help build stronger and more efficient wind turbines.
Dan and Beth even brought microscopes, turning our classrooms into mini laboratories. Students not only examined their first set of samples under the microscope, they learned all about how the devices worked.
These chemists learned about ph levels and mixed acids and bases to form new brightly colored solutions using a red cabbage indicator, lemon juice, drain cleaner, soap, and vinegar
Our young engineers used connects and learned about hydraulics to build bridges and machines that would move when powered by pistons and water.
And don’t forget about Bianka’s foray into circuit boards (don’t worry, we never lost power during any experimentation!)
And last but not least, we couldn’t have a science week without a little daydreaming about the final frontier – space! Well, they did a little more than day dream, they learned how to build rockets. They measured the angle of rocket flight with PVC pipe and soda bottle rocket launchers, and experimented with nose cones and fins to determine how a rocket’s design and mass will affect the rocket’s flight. We’re NASA-ready…
We’re so grateful to Beth and Dan for advancing STEM at Have Faith Haiti. Many of our students already loved their science lessons in geology, biology, and earth science, and now with their generosity of time and dedication, we were able to explore chemistry, engineering, physics, and aerodynamics
On Sunday, October 14, the Chika Fund at the Have Faith Haiti Mission, along with SAY Detroit Play Center’s literacy programming, were recipients of fundraised at the benefit launch for Mitch Albom’s latest book, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven. Babu, currently residing in Detroit while receiving medical care, was on stage to welcome guests, and we saw some special reading by Junie-Anna on screen, too!
Catch up on special clips from the night at this playlist:
The Chika Fund, and with the generosity and innovation of Beaumont Hospital, has made Knox’s occupational therapy possible. A head injury when he was a year old resulted in stroke-like physical symptoms.
Lokomat Walking Therapy has vastly improved his range of motion. Just look at him jumping rope!
We’re also thrilled to introduce the first edition of the Have Faith Haiti Times. This student-run newspaper is written and produced in Haiti at the mission by the all-student editorial staff of JJ and Chivensky. The editorial staff elicits the help of students from every class to assist in writing stories after brainstorming topics they want covered. Before every edition is written, the editorial staff first meets to brainstorm which stories they will cover. The students use skills they have learned during composition and grammar classes to compile interesting articles detailing life at the mission. The editorial staff chose the name, “Have Faith Daily Times” because on a daily basis, we choose to have faith in all that we do. We hope that through the newspaper, we can share how faith drives life here and how it’s exhibited at the Mission. We will use the newspaper as a special way to update our sponsors about what we are doing, so active sponsors be on the lookout for the second edition of our newspaper on November 5th!
The Have Faith Haiti Mission is a special place of love and caring, dedicated to the safety, education, health and spiritual development of Haiti’s impoverished children and orphans. You can learn more here.