Minor ES families recently used their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) know-how to put pantry items to work in classroom “construction” projects.
At the school’s 2nd annual STEAM Night on Jan. 19, students and their parents constructed bridges with popsicle sticks, built structures using spaghetti and marshmallows, made paper cup parachutes, and crafted catapults from spoons. They competed to see who could create the longest paper chain from one piece of paper. And, in the computer lab, students practiced the basics of computer coding with online games.
More than 250 parents and guardians gathered with their students for the hands-on learning activities, displays of STEAM in action, a showcase of Science Fair projects, and an awards presentation for Science Fair winners.
Dr. Scott Frandsen, the school’s principal, notes that the event offered a “warm and friendly environment” with plenty of hands-on activities so that all parents, including those with limited English, felt comfortable as active participants in their child’s education.
Responses from both students and family members underscored that the learning event hit the mark. “Thanks for doing these workshops,” said one parent. “They really help to give us ideas.” “Excellent night! Very organized and fun!,” said another. And students enjoyed the evening as well, with one student especially keen on engineering feats accomplished with his family, “I think making a bridge with my parents made it more fun.”
Community partners and older students also supported the fun learning event. Popadoodle, a local “children’s imagination center,” provided several STEM and art stations, including visual and hands-on examples of the water cycle. Students from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology also provided math- and science-related activities for the younger students. One activity allowed the students to experiment with chromatography, a scientific technique for studying and separating complex mixtures. Kimberlee Jones of the Von.Lea Creative Group made a donation of $500 to the art program at Minor. (In November, Ms. Jones served as the school’s Principal for a Day, an initiative of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and GCPS.)
“I love nights like these because they provide the opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to engage in learning together,” says Dr. Frandsen. “The support we have from local businesses was wonderful...we have a great community!”