Susan Riley | June 2017

School Spotlight: Fundraising with STEAM

As most of us know, schools often need fundraisers throughout the year to support various programs and purchase much needed supplies for their classrooms.  These typically involve parents selling various candles, bags and wrapping paper to help support the school goals.  Waterloo Elementary in Monroe, Michigan has taken a different approach to their fundraising efforts.

Fundraising with STEAM in Mind

Instead of parents doing the fundraising, students are the ones making change – literally.  The school has implemented the STEAM Shoppe as a winter fundraiser event.

Students design the Shoppe, create the items for sale, and run the Shoppe during the holiday season so that other students can purchase items as gifts for family members.  This provides students with the experience of entrepreneurship, creativity, marketing, sales, and more.

School principal Meghan Gibson has been utilizing EducationCloset resources with her staff and together, they came up with this new way to bring meaningful learning experiences to their students.

“There are so many life lessons that are part of this process – it’s really exciting to be a part of something like this,” Ms. Gibson said.

STEAM from Start to Finish

Not only are students learning specific skills like counting money (math), creating their items from recycled materials using design principles (engineering and the arts), and persuasive writing (through their marketing work), they are applying these skills in a culminating project that has a real impact.

2nd grade teacher Morgan Valentine explains that this is a way for her students to “create things to sell for a purpose”.  The sale of these items benefits the school as well as the community.

Next time you consider planning a school fundraiser, try creating your own version of Waterloo’s STEAM Shoppe.  These gifts go beyond their price tag – it’s a way to make STEAM learning come to life.

This article is part of our new School Spotlight series.  This series highlights schools, classrooms and teachers using Arts Integration and STEAM in exciting new ways.  Have a story to share?  Contact us here with the details!

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan