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STEM Night/ScienceFair/Science Night

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Yoli Gonzales Yoli Gonzales 2165 Points

This coming new year, maybe in February, March or April, I'm thinking of holding a Science Night/Science Fair/STEM Night for parents and students. Our schools hasn't had a science night in years so I'm not sure where I should concentrate my energies. This year I've introduced STEM into our pullout science lab for students 1 to 6th (which is very new for everyone) and would like to show off some of the things we've done that are related to STEM. Should I do a thematic approach? Should I focus on a particular grade or open it up for grades 1 to 6? If so, how do I make it happen? But,some of my students have expressed interest in doing a science fair project,too. What ideas do you have to help students with a science fair project? How much time do you give them to finish their project? How do you setup judging their work? Etc. I tend to want to do EVERYTHING so I'm looking for guidance on how I can approach this event so it will be informative, fun for students and parents and not burn all of us out while doing it. Any tips on how to get parents and teachers interested in helping with this event would be helpful; especially when they are already overbooked with reading night, math night, music programs, etc. In the past, I've done science fair projects just for my grade but have never done it for grades 1 to 6; which seems overwhelming to me. So, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Wendy Goldfein Wendy Goldfein 2335 Points

We highly recommend the site and book : Family Engineering.org. They have everything you could need for a highly successful evening. We have had engineering nights for the past four years using their materials. We also were co-authors for an article in Science and Children on that subject, 'Family Style Engineering". You can access the article on our website:http://www.getcaughtengineering.com Wendy Goldfein

Yoli Gonzales Yoli Gonzales 2165 Points

Wendy Thank you for this wonderful find!! It'll help me get started this first year! Any tips on what you learned throughout the years in doing a STEM night on what works and what should not be attempted?

Angela Vogt Angela Vogt 1490 Points

What is exactly is STEM and how can I bring it to my school? I'm a student teacher and have heard some of my classmates talk about STEM but I have yet to see it in my school!

Yoli Gonzales Yoli Gonzales 2165 Points

Angela The best way to learn about science to watch these video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlPJ48simtE http://powerofdiscovery.org/category/multimedia/stem-videos STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. It's a great way to integrate all disciplines in a hands-on, inquiry-based/project-based curriculum where students are participating in investigations and activities that are meaningful and applicable to their lives.

Wendy Goldfein Wendy Goldfein 2335 Points

Yoli, I am so glad we could be helpful. Over the years we have adjusted and improvised our evening. We realized after the first year that we needed a separate area for toddlers and preschool children with hands on activities. Finding sitters on a school night is difficult and expensive, so we wanted an area that would help out families with younger ones in tow. We realized early on that we need lots of time and volunteers prior to the event to prepare the materials as well as a fairly large storage area to be a staging area and to store prepped materials. We look for volunteers to supervise and run events for the evening at high schools, colleges, and engineering associations. We make sure we are not tied down to a specific activity ourselves...we spend the evening trouble shooting and helping with any issues ( good running shoes are necessary) . We select in advance one person to be photographer as we found we were too busy to do that. We take a lot of time with drawing floor plans for each room and measuring spaces to make sure everything will fit. Our preplanning is extensive but well worth it and makes all the difference in a successful evening. We also look for opportunities to invite outside companies or associations to also have an activity at the event ( for example - a high school robotics team or an engineering company). Since we invite the entire preK-6th grade community to the event, we organize color coded ( to a specific area)fliers so we can quickly disperse people as they arrive to various areas in the school. This keeps us from having everyone immediately turn into the cafeteria while other areas are empty. Their color coded flier has an agenda that will take them to other areas at specific times. This has worked beautifully for us. It took a while to organize that first year but the system ( yep..our own systems engineering project LOL) now is set and easy to implement. Hope this information helps. Wendy Get Caught Engineering.com

Yoli Gonzales Yoli Gonzales 2165 Points

Wendy I am so glad we have a forum like this to tap into people like you!! Your detailed response made me realize that I have a lot of work to organize this event. I like your suggestion of using students from the local university and also inviting "vendors" to the event. Color coding the grade levels is an awesome idea, too!! I'm printing your post and creating a checklist for myself. THANK YOU -- Mahalo nui loa!! (Hawaiian for Thanks you very much!!) I appreciate the time you took to write your response. :)

Wendy Goldfein Wendy Goldfein 2335 Points

We would like to recommend Ann Jolly’s STEM by Design blog at Middle Web. She does a great job each a month covering all aspects of STEM and STEAM and we highly recommend it as a terrific resource. http://www.middleweb.com/category/stem-by-design/ Wendy http://www.getcaughtengineering.com http://www.facebook.com/GetCaughtEngineering http://www.pinterest.com/getcaughtengin/

Yoli Gonzales Yoli Gonzales 2165 Points

Wendy, You are right to suggest this blog. I really enjoyed reading the blog about giving our disadvantaged students access to STEM, too. This is also my passion and as the new STEM teacher in my school, I have made it my goal to make sure ALL of my students are getting the tools and resources (of course, within my budget constraints) I can give them. Our school is a Title 1 school. I want to do so much for/with my students however it's sometimes difficult to provide them with the technology and materials they need. It has forced me to be creative and to treasure things people throw away as great possibilities for re-purposing.

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