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Three Piggy Opera is the tale of the perfect STEAM lesson: | Schools

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Three Piggy Opera is the tale of the perfect STEAM lesson:
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Three Piggy Opera is the tale of the perfect STEAM lesson:

MARIETTA, Ga. -- We've always known that fairy tales offer lessons, but a teaching team at Ford Elementary School in Cobb County has found a way to put STEAM into it.

STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

A team of teachers collaborated to make sure they covered all of those areas with their young students -- through a project called the "Three Piggy Opera."

On the day of the opera, the parents and grandparents of the second graders packed the music room with their cameras poised.

As this story begins, three very hard-working pigs try to go on with their daily duties when a wolf hungry for pork tries to blow down their houses. It's a classic tale with a modern day twist.

"It's a perfect example of how the arts can be integrated within the subject areas for STEM," said Jane Swanson, a paraprofessional at Ford, she nominated six teachers for 11Alive's Class Act Award because of their STEAM collaboration. The winning teachers are Craig Hurley, music; Claire Cyr, art; Collen Cauffiel, STEM Lab; Catherine Padgett, Environmental Education; STEM lab; Tina Smith, second grade; and, Drena Varghese, fourth grade.

In addition to the Opera, the teachers added another chapter to the lesson.

"Our students were given the engineering challenge of building a house that would keep the three piggies out," said Cauffiel.

They had to build the houses using a limited amount of materials to meet certain dimensions

"It needs to be able withstand 15 seconds from the big bad hairdryer," said Cauffiel.

The kids held their breaths as the hairdryer blew hot air, but all the houses remained standing: the perfect happy ending.

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