Today’s Contributor: Randi Sather
Randi is the Librarian and CIC at Perez Elementary School.
We celebrated our first annual STEAM Night at Perez this year by adding additional activities, events, and excitement to our long-standing Science Fair Night and I encourage you to try it! Traditionally, our Science Fair Night has included viewing students’ science fair projects, touring the AISD Planetarium, and seeing a liquid nitrogen demonstration. This year we turned up the STEAM by also including demonstrations from our student robotics club teams, coding, online math games, augmented reality sandbox demos, Perez Farm tours, an art gallery, and our library MakerSpace grand opening! With approximately 500 attendees, families engaged in learning, and lots of smiling faces… STEAM night was a success!
It required lots of planning and collaboration to make this transition from Science Night to full STEAM Night smoothly. First, our campus technology committee met to brainstorm ways to improve our Science Night, set a date, and came up with an overview of events. We met again later to decide who would take the lead on each event and assign tasks to be completed. Once we had a clear vision, I created the family invite flyer using Canva and got feedback from the team. We then had the idea to also create a ‘passport’ families would get stamped at each station, a technique we had used at a family reading event and liked. Again, I used Canva to create a passport that matched the flyer.
At this time I began reaching out to potential collaborators & volunteers. These included Vanessa Jones (our campus TDC), UT Computer Science students, AmeriCorps members and securing funding from Whole Foods. We also requested support from campus teachers and they signed up for the station they were most interested in helping with.
In the weeks leading up to the big night, we promoted by sending home flyers, a robocall home with details, reminders in the morning announcements, and a MakerSpace taste library lesson. The day of the event, students also wore a reminder sticker home for that last nudge to attend.
With all the planning, hard work, and communication that had gone into the event before-hand it made the night of the event fantastic! Families checked in at the greeting table where they received their passport and a ticket to the planetarium. Then, families visited each station where they had a chance to play, explore, tinker, and learn with a variety of STEAM related activities. When families had completed at least 3 of the 8 stations, they were treated to free pizza thanks to our Perez PTA, though most chose to complete all eight.
My time was spent orchestrating the grand-opening of our library MakerSpace and I was treated to many memorable moments. Sharing a few here!
I highly encourage you to consider transforming your Science Night into a full-fledged STEAM event and am glad to offer any insight I can give. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PerezReads. Full STEAM ahead!