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Plum High School holds Remake Learning Days

| Monday, May 29, 2017, 9:54 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
'This is awesome,' junior Megan Curnow exclaimed when she tested a virtual reality viewer as part of a STEAM Playground event on Friday, May 26, 2017, at Plum High School's library. Students visited several stations that also included light-up circuits and hummingbird robots. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Plum High School junior Martin McPherson shows Anthony Lagrotteria how to use a virtual reality viewer to photograph a spinner in motion. McPherson programmed the camera in his smartphone to shoot the photos. The high school hosted a STEAM Playground on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Plum High School students Joseph Benton and Diaunte Royster program a hummingbird robot. As part of Remake Learning Days, Plum High School hosted a STEAM Playground in the school's library on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Plum High School students Diaunte Royster and Joseph Benton program a hummingbird robot. As part of Remake Learning Days, Plum High School hosted a STEAM Playground in the school's library on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Plum High School students Nicole Sciulli and Emily Wash create lighted greeting cards at the light-up circuit station at the high school library. Using wire, copper tape and a 3-volt battery, the girls designed a card featuring the Eiffel Tower with colored lights. The school hosted a STEAM Playground on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Plum High School students took a break from lectures, finals and general class assignments to play in a playground of sorts as part of a Pittsburgh initiative.

Drones, 3D printing, coding, virtual reality viewers, circuit systems and games were all part of Friday's STEAM playground.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

It was Plum's part in Remake Learning Days, a two-week extravaganza that featured more than 250 events throughout the Pittsburgh area.

High school activities were organized by library media specialist Kristen Rowe and teachers Stephanie Reilly and Tamar McPherson.

“Schools and public libraries and other community centers could make events that are related to STEM,” Rowe said. “... This is a good time to have it because a lot are done with their classes. This is just for fun.

“This is really a different way to get them exposed to some of the technology that they haven't used before.”

Reilly said the equipment used in the playground came through grants and was borrowed from other Plum schools.

“A lot of this is independent exploration,” Rowe said.

Junior Keely Boyle explored the 3D printer and helped fellow students make various plastic objects such as clips, gears, spinners and even a Pittsburgh Penguins' logo.

“I love science and how it's applied, and how it works,” she said. “You're actually interacting and working with stuff instead of just reading about it. It's hands-on.”

Junior Jasmyn Floyd echoed Keely's sentiments.

“I enjoy this so much more than sitting in a classroom,” she said. “I like being hands-on and being able to do stuff.”

Community members were invited to participate with students.

Reilly's parents, William and Joanne Shuker of Irwin, made the trek to the playground. They made graduation cards that lit up using copper tape, lights and a battery.

“It's very impressive to see all the kids doing all this computer programming,” William Shuker said. “They know how to use CAD, computer aided drafting. They know how to do electrical circuits to make these cards work.”

He said the experience brought back memories of when he was in school.“In 1962, I took a computer programming class, and it was hard,” William Shuker said. “It's so much easier now.”

Joanne Shuker loved seeing the students at work.

“When's the last time you saw these kids so excited about anything other than a video game?” she asked.

Regency Park Elementary had a science olympiad Friday as part of Remake Learning Days. Students participated in various competitions related to STEAM.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @mikejdivittorio.

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