Students watched a chemical reaction between an acid (vinegar) and a base (baking soda) blow up a balloon! While this station was "hands off" (due to the potential messiness of this demonstration) students were still able to practice making verbal predictions, observations, and drawing conclusions.
Tie-Dye Sharpie Art
Magic KetchupStudents discovered the secret of "Magic Ketchup" while exploring concepts of density and buoyancy. While this station was fairly simple and straightforward (only a bottle of water, kosher salt, and a ketchup packet were needed), students were fascinated that they could control the motion of their ketchup packet with just a simple squeeze of the water bottle. Note: this experiment is also called a Cartesian Diver.
Have you seen this app yet?! This was one of our most popular stations! I think parents were more impressed than the kids!
Marshmallow & Toothpick Towers
Make a ParachuteStudents learned how parachutes work and then were given materials to construct their own mini-version. Students had to make tough design choices (such as which type of material to use for the parachute) and experimented with adding weight to their pipe-cleaner person.
Birds Farm Animals
Guess My NumberFamilies used their keen questioning skills and knowledge of place value to guess their opponents mystery number. K-2 used a simple hundreds chart, while 3-5 worked up into the millions.
Walk the Line
Students completed a series of activities using self-created number lines (K-2's went to 100, and 3-5 went to 1,000). The best part? Students were able to take number lines home to use for homework and math games!
Students practiced making tally marks and explored the concept of probability.
Fruit Snack MathWho knew a single bag of fruit snacks could have so many math connections? Students completed at least three math activities ranging from simple addition and subtraction to graphing and fractions using their pack.
Our Pre-K and Kinder teachers wanted an area just for the little ones this year. These students made orange pumpkins by combining red and yellow paints, used straws and pipe cleaners to create sculptures, and used mini-pumpkins to measure basic objects.
Estimation JarsWe had two water bottles for each grade band (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) filled with yummy Halloween candies.
Family ResourcesWe partnered this station up with our Watch D.O.G.S table. Teachers passed out free packs of playing cards and parents signed up for a print out of this math packet. My students love playing these games in class to build their math skills.
Lessons learned this year...Ask for help - often. STEM night fell on another busy week this year. With so many obligations, I knew help from my colleagues was a must. I held a work party after school a few days before the event to tackle all the little things like making signs and cutting/counting out materials. I was also very thankful for the ten extra AmeriCorps volunteers that helped run stations during the event.
It still pays to be extra prepared. Having a one-sheet for each station that lists materials and talking points for facilitators was incredibly helpful. Not only did it help as I did my final checks the day before, these sheets allowed each station to essentially run themselves the night of our event without any confusion.
Variety is good, but kids like the hands-on messy stuff. I tried my best to have a variety of messy, clean, quiet, and loud stations. However, families seemed to overall gravitate to the more "exciting" stations - Magic Ketchup, Marshmallow Towers, Angry Birds, Make a Parachute, and the ColAR app. My goal for next year is to make the math stations more enticing.
Buckets and towels need to be written into the supply lists. I found myself running to fetch these items too many times throughout the night, reminding me that ease of clean-up is just as important as set-up.
Planning STEM Night has been such a fun opportunity for me these past two years. Thanks for letting me share the adventure with you. Year Three is already in the works and is looking to be even bigger and better. Get ready for more STEMmy fun!