Studio Art faculty members and STEAMSHOP cofounders Sharon Massey and Sean Derry developed a STEAM project for kids that was presented at the KDKA STEAM Fest at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Monday, October 9, 2023.

IUP students Alex Smith, Mohammed Omar Arab, and Shreyas Bhari Mallikarjunaswamy assisted Molly Russell and Matt Burglund from the Office of Marketing and Communications to present the project to over 200 kids during the afternoon event.

STEAM project

Professors Massey and Derry, whose collaboration Local X Change focuses on design, technology, and civic engagement, designed 3D-printed molds for birdseed cakes that could be mixed and molded by kids at the event. Participants chose a bird species, either Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, or Mourning Doves, and then used the preferred seed of that species, either sunflower seeds, thistle, or millet, to mold a seed cake.

STEAM at the zoo

Massey and Derry also designed custom laser-cut paper containers to transport the seed cakes and included an informational card about each bird species. The laser-cut paper packages were customized with laser-engraved stamps of IUP and Local X Change logos.

bird seed cake

Computer-aided design and the digital fabrication tools in STEAMSHOP made this project possible. Students enrolled in ART 113, 3D Design and Digital Fabrication, are currently learning these skills and have the opportunity to use the tools in STEAMSHOP to develop more original projects.