Wanting to amp up their STEM learning and searching for a theme they could build a parent engagement event around, the faculty at Moss Hill Elementary School came up with a doubly good idea.
Duke Energy Science Night drew a crowd of students and their families to the school Thursday night.
“We just pulled everything together and put all the grants I wrote toward our STEM night and parent engagement, and luckily it all worked out,” Catherine Lynch, the school’s digital learning specialist, said as families came in to register.
Lynch used a Duke Energy grant and two other grant awards – from Tri-County EMC and the Lenoir County Education Foundation – to acquire supplies for the event, essentially the Duke Energy kits that formed the core of the STEM activities plus other STEM kits “we’ll keep here and use year after year,” Lynch said.
A donation from the PTA bought a class set of Spheros, ball-like robots that can be guided and programmed via students’ iPads.
The Spheros occupied one of 15 stops that Science Night participants could make through the school, engaging in teacher-supervised projects like putting together a robotic hand, making a catapult out of popsicle sticks and a plastic spoon, painting with a magnet and making and testing a parachute. Students who successfully completed four sessions were rewarded with a snack bag.
“All the sessions they can go to are hands-on,” Lynch said. “It’s different challenges, not just for the students to do but for the parents to do as well. It’s geared up to be a night where everybody is hands-on and everybody’s participating and everybody’s creating.”
Principal Stacy Cauley said she was hopeful the special science night activities would echo through routine school days. “This is a big boost for us to implement some STEM activities in the classroom,” she said. “I feel like this will be something the teachers will enjoy doing tonight and will incorporate in their classrooms.”