On May 4, Lower Merion School District hosted its second annual Elementary Family STEM Night. The K-5 event, which was guided by the Star War's theme "May the Force be With You", is a District initiative that supports the Strategic Plan. In addition to the STEM focus, the evening's activities included an exploration of Makerspace activities. A Makerspace is a collaborative workspace for creating and learning. Both STEM and "Making" provide students with the opportunity to innovate and develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills while exploring content connected to the standards.
This year, the teachers in the Arcadia STEM Cohorts, under the guidance of the District's Supervisor of Elementary STEM, Nancy Acconciamessa, planned and organized a galactic-themed evening of STEM fun and exploration. Authentically costumed members of the Rebel Legion's Ghost Base were also on hand to share their love of Star Wars. Families and staff enjoyed the chance to pose for photos with a Jedi, an X-Wing Pilot, a Gamorrean Guard and the most famous Wookie of all, Chewbacca!
Imagining that they had been stranded on a distant planet, third, fourth and fifth grade students participated in several engineering and design challenges that required them to collaborate and push each other to develop more ingenious solutions. In one challenge, the students and families designed and built a 12-inch structure from index cards that could support weight. In another challenge, they created a wind-powered vehicle using straws and peppermint candies.
Our youngest students were provided with open-ended, creative exploration opportunities that asked them to utilize their imaginations and recycled materials. Colonizing a planet in a galaxy far, far away, they were tasked with creating a droid, a structure and a maze that could be used to hone their Jedi skills. They also practiced their paper-folding and flying skills as they crafted paper airplanes to sail through hyperspace!
Students from the award-winning Lower Merion High School DAWGMA and TSA clubs were on hand to showcase their robotic and scientific skills and to raise money by selling snacks and beverages. As an added act of community service, families in attendance were asked to bring a canned food donation for Narberth Foodbank that was also used as part of a design challenge.
Based upon the smiles and incredible creations shown at the end of the evening, it is safe to say that the force was strong with those in attendance at this interstellar STEM event!