To see parents and their children immersed in exploring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) investigations does my heart good. I recently conducted a one hour engineering night for a local Title I elementary school. Approximately 100 K-5 students and their parents attended the event. I started off the evening with a brief overview of the benefits of incorporating STEM practices and content within the home and classroom including discussing the engineering design process. Participants were given a brief overview of the 10 STEM-based exploration centers that were set-up around the perimeter of the room. The STEM centers were under the direction of K-5 teachers and administrators from the school.
I chose STEM centers with investigations and challenges that would be meaningful and manageable within an hour time frame they included:
- Ramp Science
- Building 3 Dimensional Structures with Readily Available Materials
- Mini Engineering Building Design Challenges
- Block Building
- Squishy Circuits
- Reverse Engineering
- Connecting Geometry and Architecture Concepts
- Connecting Seed Dispersal to Aviation Concepts
Additionally, I had a table set-up in the front of the room with STEM-based children’s literature and parent and teacher resource books for the participants to look at during the session.
The event was a total success. Everyone was thoroughly immersed in exploring STEM practices and content throughout the evening. The beauty and power of incorporating STEM practices (21st century skills) and content within our daily lives was evident. The importance of providing opportunities for students to develop and strengthen their 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration) within the home and classroom was seen in “real time”.
A big thank you goes out to Brenda Russell for helping to organize the event, and all the teachers and administrators that helped to make the event a success. The following pictures were taken during the Family Engineering Night. To schedule STEM, MakerEd, NGSS teacher training workshops and keynotes with Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski contact her via the contact page on this site.