Middle school’s Pet Club work has community connections while reinforcing ‘STEAM’ skills

two boys rolling out dough for dog treatsAcademic excellence is one of many Minisink Valley hallmarks and often times that’s reinforced through connections to the community.

In this instance, those connections are to furry friends!

The middle school’s Pet Club recently completed a community service project to make homemade doggie treats to be delivered to the Middletown, Goshen and Pets Alive animal shelters.

“Dogs are our friends and this can help give them a better life and make them happy,” said club member Gerry Cao.

More than community connections, there’s STEAM connections too

student with cut outs ready to bakeYes, there was a STEAM (science-technology-engineering-arts-mathematics) component: Exposure to measurements (in this instance, in a recipe) is a critical skill in many subjects like chemistry, math and engineering.

Other STEAM connections include exposure to critical thinking (evaluation and applying the recipe’s details appropriately); problem solving (why might you need to add more water to the mixture?); and creativity (how might you further “personalize’ a recipe or create a decorative presentation?).

Then, there’s also exposure to real-world contexts, such as an interest in more complex cooking or baking. The complexity of recipe ingredients may students packing up treatsstimulate students to  embrace more complicated math skills.

And, of course, the best real-world connection is helping dogs waiting for their “fur-ever” homes!

‘Even a little thing like this can make a difference to them.’

Club members were happy to be a part of this effort to help.

“Some people are mean to animals and abuse them,” said Adriana Vareikite. “This can help them to be happy and have a nice life. We want them to be happy.”

packed up dog treatsAdded Cheyann Kumar: “Dogs go through a lot of cruelty. Even a little thing like this can make a difference to them.”

The recipe was a wheat flour-based one with an added touch of cinnamon and eggs, among other ingredients.

“My sister tasted it (the finished, baked product),” Cheyann added. “She said it tasted weird but I bet it was a good taste for the dogs.”

Visit the district’s Facebook page to see more photos!