Sonoma County Office of Education


Students Reveal Fire Recovery Innovations at Second Synopsys-Sonoma County Steam Showcase

02/22/2018 -

More than 450 students are expected to attend the second Synopsys-Sonoma County STEAM Showcase on Friday, March 2 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

In this innovative event, students will showcase their work in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, also called STEAM. All work is centered around one of two themes: Systems and System Models or Creativity in Community. The second theme encourages students to develop projects that address the community’s unique needs both before and after the North Bay fires. These could include products or services to support those displaced by the fires, systems to help prevent or protect from such disasters in the future, and reflections of individual or community experience of the fires.

“We firmly believe that now more than ever it is important to provide opportunities for students to engage with societal issues and be empowered to use elements of STEAM to develop creative, innovative responses,” said Anna Van Dordrecht, SCOE Science Coordinator.

The action-packed showcase is a marked departure from more traditional science events. Students will take turns showing their work, exploring the work of other students, and participating in hands-on science and maker activities.

Students participate either as individuals or in groups, creating projects that fit into one of four categories: performance, a digital display, a 3-D display, or an interactive display. Their work will be reviewed by project evaluators who represent local businesses, nonprofits in the STEAM fields, educators, and many others. There will be no winners or trophies—rather, anyone who scores at a certain level on the event rubric will receive a badge celebrating their achievement.

“Not only did students demonstrate more positivity and exuberance during last year’s event, but the less competitive nature encouraged students from special populations to participate,” said Dan Blake, SCOE Director of Innovation and Partnerships. Most notable among these participants was a project submitted by a group of special education students and another submitted by a group of English learners.

About the Projects

Students, working individually or in teams, collectively submitted more than 140 projects, including:

Fire retardant insulation to protect houses from fires

Development of an emergency backpack model, poster and video

Reducing the harmful effects of the chemical residue created by the Sonoma County fires

Equitable access to female hygiene for homeless individuals in California

Students will be presenting a song they prepared using synthesizers they designed, instruments they built, lyrics they wrote, and samples they recorded. 

An interactive story book teaching about the fires.

Event Details:

When: Friday, March 2, 2018 | 9:00am - 2:00pm

Where: Saralee & Richard's Barn & Finley Hall (Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Events Center)

Theme: Creativity in Community

About the Sponsor:

The Synopsys Silicon Valley Science & Technology Outreach Foundation enables and celebrates teachers and students developing science projects at K-12 public schools and private non-profit schools with 501(c)(3) public charity status in California and select schools affiliated with regional offices of Synopsys, Inc.


Event Director | Dan Blake |
Event Manager | Anna Van Dordrecht |

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