Lower Merion School District recently hosted the fourth annual Elementary Family STEM Night. The K-5 event, which was guided by the theme Dive into LMSD STEM, is a District initiative that supports the Strategic Plan. In addition to the engineering design challenges, the evening's activities included an exploration of Makerspace activities. A Makerspace is a collaborative work space for creating and learning. Both the engineering and design challenges and Makerspace activities provided students with the opportunity to create, innovate and develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.
Teachers in the Arcadia STEM Cohorts, under the guidance of the District's Supervisor of Elementary STEM Nancy Acconciamessa, planned and organized the ocean-themed evening of science, technology, engineering and math fun and exploration. The engineering and design challenges required families to collaborate and push each other to develop innovative solutions using the engineering design process and only the limited materials provided. In the first challenge, students and families were charged with safely moving a mermaid from "contaminated" water to a cleaner environment. In the second challenge, families designed a marble run to safely transport passengers to the ocean. In the last challenge, they engineered a way to transport a baby turtle past predatory sea gulls and safely drop it into the ocean.
In the gymnasium, the District's youngest students were provided with open-ended Makerspace opportunities that tasked them to utilize their imaginations and recycled materials to create ocean animals and artifacts. New among this year's STEM Night programming was a "quiet space" that offered an area for students to get away from the hustle and bustle of the event, as well as opportunities for students to engage in coding and robotics activities using ozobots, spheros, edisons, bee-bots and code-a-pillars.
Local organizations such as BSD Code & Design Academy, the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium, Code.org, Everfi, The Franklin Institute and Riverbend were also on hand to engage families in hands-on STEM activities. Several student groups from Lower Merion High School - DAWGMA Robotics, Science Olympiad and the Technology Student Association (TSA), along with Harriton's National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE Jr.) - were also in attendance to showcase their talents and assist families during the STEM & Makerspace events.
Based upon the smiles and incredible creations shown at the end of the evening, it is safe to say that those in attendance had STEM-tastic time! To view a slideshow of pictures from this year's event, click on the image below!