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Peterson Middle School Hosts Pilot Contest for Marketing District’s STEAM Expo

Back in October, the winning team for the first annual STEAM Expo Commercial Contest was announced. The commercial, made by Jazzy Ramirez, Shaanvi Mahesh and Shreya Chhaparwal, promotes this year’s Santa Clara Unified School District’s STEAM Expo on March 28. In the commercial, these girls wore t-shirts they designed and visited Mission College, where the 2020 STEAM Expo will be held.

The commercial can be viewed at .

“The winning students get the thrill of seeing their commercial being used throughout the district for marketing STEAM Expo,” said Ildiko Stennis, a Science Teacher at Peterson Middle School.


Sixty-four Peterson students participated in the contest through the Google Classroom — eight teams submitted projects. A panel of eight teachers and TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignments) judged the entries.

“We had a lot of K-5 kids participating in last year’s STEAM Expo but not as many middle school or high school students,” Stennis said. “One of the goals for the upcoming STEAM Expo is to encourage under-represented students and older students to participate in next year’s STEAM Expo.

“I asked Shann Chu, the Coordinator for Educational Technology in the district, if we could have a pilot competition among students at Peterson Middle School to create a commercial to market participation in the STEAM Expo,” Stennis continued. “Because it’s our first year, and because we have a time crunch, we decided to have this contest just at Peterson as a pilot project. In future years, we will include all the other middle schools in addition to Peterson, such as Buchser, Cabrillo and Don Callejon.”

Stennis described one of the goals of the upcoming STEAM Expo is to celebrate the STEAM projects that district students from transitional kindergarden to grade 12 have worked on. There are benefits for teachers and students to participate.

“There will be incentives for teachers to provide hands on activities through Donors Choose, where a teacher can fill out a grant request for the materials used at the STEAM Expo,” Stennis said. “The understanding is that after the STEAM Expo, the materials will go to the teachers to be used in their classroom. For example, if a teacher wants to facilitate snap circuits, the snap circuits would go back to the teachers to be used in their own classrooms.

“Steve Neese, the district’s Partnerships Manager, has created all these partnerships with these companies,” Stennis continued. “One of the neat things we’re doing this year is that students participating in STEAM Expo by doing a project or presentation will be entered into a raffle for some really great prizes, such as a free summer camp by Camp Captivate, multiple Xboxes, and gift cards. Kids coming to the STEAM Expo can do a number of activities and complete a stamped passport to show the activities they’ve done. Upon completion, they can get a unique Lego set not available on the market.”


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