To put what they’ve been learning into action, Cannon Elementary students got to launch rockets, build planets using 3D printers and hurl meteors through “space” at their annual STEMapalooza celebration Oct. 27.

In a nutshell

Cannon Elementary, located at 1300 W. College St. in Grapevine, has hosted STEMapalooza for the past three years.

“This day highlights everything that we do all year long,” Principal Tina Garrett said. “[It’s] like a STEM fair wrapped around our four pillars, which are curriculum; community; culture; and career and military pathways.”

Garrett said that this year’s STEMapalooza is centered around space because of the two eclipses that are occurring this year. She said that students' creations included:
  • A walk-through planetarium that contained planets and other space objects that students created on 3D printers
  • Meteor launchers made out of popsicle sticks and plastic spoons
  • Spaceships that had to land on targets using parachutes
Students engaged in the spaceship landing experiments were allowed to go back and redesign their creations if they missed the target.

Diving in deeper

According to the National Science Teaching Association, STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that combines science, technology, engineering and math subjects that gives students opportunities to see the connection between the content they are studying and real-world applications.

Garrett said that while all of the subjects taught at Cannon Elementary are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills state standards, being a STEM campus allows students to experience learning beyond the TEKS standards.

“By the time [the students] leave fifth grade here, they are advanced in coding, robotics, critical thinking and problem-solving as an avenue to really support that college, career and military readiness pathway,” Garrett said.

What you need to know

Cannon Elementary is the only STEM campus in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. While the school is zoned for students in its surrounding area, Garrett said that families desiring a STEM education for their students who live in other parts of GCISD can apply for enrollment.

“Typically between February and March, there’s a window on the district website where there’s a transfer website and [parents can] fill out all their information,” Garrett said.

For families wanting more information about the campus, Garrett says that she is always giving tours to parents, local business supporters, and even other school district officials and their students.

“We’re just so proud of what we do,” Garrett said. “We feel like this [campus] is changing the trajectory of kids’ lives while also closing the academic gap. I believe in [STEM] wholeheartedly, and I know it works for kids.”