The Ohio State University at Lima


STEAM on the Quad 2018 delivers double whammy of learning and fun for K-8

Oobleck – a non-Newtonian fluid with properties of both a liquid and a solid wildly popular with the 480 K-8 students and their families attending the 2018 STEAM on the Quad.

STEAM on the Quad 2018

Hundreds of K-8 students faced a hard question when they stuck their hands into Oobleck. Is it a solid or a liquid? A quick tap made it feel hard. Letting it ooze through their fingers made it feel like a liquid.

Braden and Ava Knippen

Much like Oobleck, STEAM on the Quad has dual properties. It offers a chance to try out scientific principles and it is a whole bunch of fun. 480 K-8 students and their families found out for themselves on a beautiful fall day at The Ohio State University at Lima.

More than 40 activities were hosted by the 4-H offices of Allen, Hardin and Putnam counties, a variety of clubs and departments at Ohio State Lima, and several community groups. The variety of activities at STEAM on the Quad span the interests and abilities of the K-8 age groups.

“We have tried to develop something for nearly every child’s interest. They can make, create and build from beginning to end,” said Dr. Leah Herner-Patnode, associate professor of special education. “It is wonderful to see entire families trying things together and building a love of experimenting and learning.”

With only a few exceptions, all the projects on display can be replicated at home. STEAM on the Quad is designed to spark a love and appreciation of learning and doing.

“STEAM activities provide a chance for hands on interactions that promote inquiry, innovation and higher level thinking processes,” said Herner-Patnode, who helps organize the annual event. “All skills that lead to improved connections to school curriculum, and the problem solving skills needed for the jobs that haven't even been created yet.”

The chance to quite literally stick their hands into a science experiment brought the Knippen family to campus for a second year.

“This is a wonderful experience – great hands on learning with science, technology, the arts and math,” said Shelly Knippen of Fort Jennings. “It gives them a good hands-on learning day.”

Knippen’s children, Ava and Braden, were working together to make cookie dough, which was Ava’s favorite stop until she discovered that the Oobleck station was two tables away with Ohio State Lima’s Education Club.

“My daughter wants to be a baker when she grows up and my son wants to be an engineer,” Knippen said. “These are a great way to spend the day as a family working together and learning great things.”

Hannah Weldy of Sidney discovered the wonders of Oobleck as well as she worked her way around the Quad at Ohio State Lima with her parents, Jamie and Travis. In addition to the phase-changing Oobleck, slime was high up on her popularity chart.

STEAM on the Quad 2018

“There’s a hundred different ways to make it and different colors you can do. It feels different,” Hannah said. “The one they did back there was hard. Then when you drop it, it is more liquidy.”

Hannah and her dad both experimented their way around the stations. According to Travis Weldy, they were about equal in their success rates. Hannah disagreed. She was pretty sure she was doing better at the activities.

“She likes to experiment with stuff. All this is right down her alley,” Jamie Weldy said. “She likes to figure things out.”

Ohio State Lima alumni Emily Landwehr (BS-Business Administration, 2010) brought her three daughters from Putnam County to check out the possibilities at STEAM on the Quad. By the end of the day, the nine-year old had tried everything and her younger siblings were winding down.

“My oldest loves it. We will be back next year,” Landwehr said. “They’ll be a little bit older and last a little bit longer.”


STEAM on the Quad is a collaboration between Ohio State Lima and the 4-H programs of Allen, Putnam and Hardin counties with support from the eXtension Foundation and Patricia Kunz Brundige Youth Development Fund for Positive Youth Development Research. The 2018 STEAM on the Quad was also made possible by sponsor INEOS and more than 120 volunteers.

STEAM on the Quad 2019 is planned for Sat., Sept. 28, 2019.