Tumbling towers of toilet paper rolls, cantilevered domino diving boards, flying cotton balls from popsicle stick trebuchets – this was the scene at Westside Elementary School on the evening of Tuesday, April 25th as students and their families worked together on a variety of STEM challenges at Family Engineering Night. Some of the trial-and-error challenges required teamwork, others encouraged competition. All were fun!
Approximately 150 students and their families participated in the fun. Kaden Michaud, a Westside first grader, was one of them. His mom, Crystal Parmiter-Michaud, said he was very excited to bring his family to that night at school. She later reported that “he was so inspired by everything we did that we went home and researched online other projects we can do together at home. We made a Pinterest board of cool ideas we can do on our own. Now he wants me to sign him up for Lego robotics and maker camps.”
The evening of hands-on STEM activities was organized by HRVHS biology teacher Kathryn Davis with the assistance of HRV junior Brynnan Burns, who helped coordinate the evening for her EA project. Ms. Davis secured an Innovative Teaching Grant from the Hood River County Education Foundation to purchase a Family Engineering Program Kit, which came complete with instructions and materials to host Family Engineering Night. It did not come with the 20 high school volunteers she wrangled to assist with the activities. The Westside PTO also helped coordinate logistics.
With a successful evening at Westside under her belt, Ms. Davis is planning to take this show on the road to the other elementary schools in the district next year. So, keep a lookout for announcements about upcoming Family Stem Nights at your school. This is an event you don’t want to miss!