Family STEAM Night

Communication Project for ELLs

Family STEAM Night: Behind the Scenes

Early on in the semester Sarah, Mike and I decided that we wanted to work together on this project. Shortly after, we learned that both Raul and Michelle were also in the same Practicum section as us and asked if they wanted to join us and they both agreed. Before our initial planning meeting, Sarah, via e-mail, proposed the idea to do a STEM night on the Interactional Space Station (ISS) because a US astronaut who has spent a year on the ISS was soon returning to Earth. On Friday, February 12ht, our group met in Sarah's classroom to discuss if this was in fact what we wanted to do for our project and to make a plan of how to execute the event. Since we all liked Sarah's idea and did not have any other ideas, we decided to proceed with the STEM night. As we discussed different ideas for the stations, we decided to make it a STEAM night by adding an agricultural station so we would have five stations since there are five of us in the group. We decided on the following stations:

S: Space Science on the ISS (me)

T: Robotics in Space (Sarah)

E: rocket redesign (Raul)

A: necessities of space including items that have been successfully grown on the ISS (Mike)

M: numbers in space (Michelle)

Other decisions made at the meeting:

  • Event title: Reaching New Horizons: Family STEAM Night
  • Date, time, and location of event: Monday, March 7th, 4-6 pm, our school's wrestling room
  • I will make the flyers to hang up around school and send home with students
  • Mike or Raul will translate the flyer to be sent home into Spanish
  • Sarah will ask the science teachers to pass out flyers to each of their classes
  • Sarah will ask to borrow robots from the gifted teacher
  • Mike and Sarah will make a Google form survey in both English and Spanish for participants to fill out at the end of the event.
  • Sarah will discuss event with Martha (our assistant principal) in order to get approval and PTO assistance
  • Our goal for the event is to provide an event for families and students of all ages to engage in math and science learning.

Second Planning Meeting

Sarah, Michelle, and I met Friday, February 19th at 4:00 to discuss and finalize details for the event. Sarah updated us on her meeting with Martha. We made the following decisions:

  • Time moved to 5:30-7:30 pm due to Spring sports practices letting out at 5:00/5:30
  • We will serve dinner in order to bring in more people. Martha will coordinate dinner with the cafeteria staff. Possibly have hot dogs and chips
  • In order to prevent families from just coming and getting food, we will have some type of punch card that students will have to get signed off by each station and then turn in at the food station in order to obtain the food.
  • The food station will be in the atrium between the gyms.
  • We drew up a layout of how we want to set up the wrestling room for the event.
  • The exit survey should only have 5-6 questions with multiple choice answers.
  • Have a prize drawing for participants, PTO will provide prizes
  • We will have National Junior Honor Society members volunteer at the event
Station activities updates
  • Science: experiments on Earth vs in space
  • Technology: robots, possibly make bristle bots
  • Engineering: make and shoot off rockets using alka-seltzer
  • Agriculture: packing activity on what to take to space
  • Math: pattern block rockets, probability with rockets, graphing constellations

Final Details:

  • Sarah met with Martha several times to finalize details for the event.
  • Martha changed the dinner plans to pizza.
  • Sarah emailed the head custodian with the furniture we would need for the event.
  • Sarah emailed our school staff to invite them to come and to ask for volunteers (see photo below).
  • I made the flyers and punch cards and copied and distributed them to the science teachers.
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The Event!

We had a pretty good turnout for our first event. There were about 45 Comanche Middle School students and their families that attended, as well as several students who are in Raul's class at Dodge City Middle School, and several families that have elementary aged students who heard about the event via social media. All together we had about 150 people attend.

When participants arrived they signed in, then proceeded to the wrestling room to visit the five stations. Participants moved around to each station at their pace, then headed to the art station, surveys, and dinner.

Wrestling Room Layout Overview

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STEAM Stations

Science: Experiments in Space vs. on Earth

Technology: Robots in Space

Engineering: Rocket Redesign

Agriculture: Veggies in Space

Math: Numbers in Space

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More STEAM Fun!


Overall, given that this was our first time planning and executing this type of event, I believe that our STEAM night was a success. The students I spoke to the next day at school said they had fun. One of my coworkers who brought her grandkids said we did a great job. One thing we need to do differently next time is have an adult at and a large sign for the survey table. We had two National Junior Honor Society students working at the table and as a result we only had a handful of surveys completed. Our survey is posted below. We had it available in both English and Spanish. Below the survey are the English responses we received. We only three responses on the Spanish version of the survey.
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Carrie Williamson

ESOL Practicum

Spring 2016