Go from Science Night to Full STEAM!

Today’s Contributor: Randi Sather 

Randi is the Librarian and CIC at Perez Elementary School.

We celebrated our first annual STEAM Night at Perez this year by adding additional activities, events, and excitement to our long-standing Science Fair Night and I encourage you to try it! Traditionally, our Science Fair Night has included viewing students’ science fair projects, touring the AISD Planetarium, and seeing a liquid nitrogen demonstration. This year we turned up the STEAM by also including demonstrations from our student robotics club teams, coding, online math games, augmented reality sandbox demos, Perez Farm tours, an art gallery, and our library MakerSpace grand opening! With approximately 500 attendees, families engaged in learning, and lots of smiling faces… STEAM night was a success!

It required lots of planning and collaboration to make this transition from Science Night to full STEAM Night smoothly. First, our campus technology committee met to brainstorm ways to improve our Science Night, set a date, and came up with an overview of events. We met again later to decide who would take the lead on each event and assign tasks to be completed. Once we had a clear vision, I created the family invite flyer using Canva and got feedback from the team. We then had the idea to also create a ‘passport’ families would get stamped at each station, a technique we had used at a family reading event and liked. Again, I used Canva to create a passport that matched the flyer.

At this time I began reaching out to potential collaborators & volunteers. These included Vanessa Jones (our campus TDC), UT Computer Science students, AmeriCorps members and securing funding from Whole Foods. We also requested support from campus teachers and they signed up for the station they were most interested in helping with.

BLOG Graphic STEAM (1)

In the weeks leading up to the big night, we promoted by sending home flyers, a robocall home with details, reminders in the morning announcements, and a MakerSpace taste library lesson. The day of the event, students also wore a reminder sticker home for that last nudge to attend.

With all the planning, hard work, and communication that had gone into the event before-hand it made the night of the event fantastic! Families checked in at the greeting table where they received their passport and a ticket to the planetarium. Then, families visited each station where they had a chance to play, explore, tinker, and learn with a variety of STEAM related activities. When families had completed at least 3 of the 8 stations, they were treated to free pizza thanks to our Perez PTA, though most chose to complete all eight.

My time was spent orchestrating the grand-opening of our library MakerSpace and I was treated to many memorable moments. Sharing a few here!

PerezPrincipal and Son Meeting Dash
Perez Principal and Son Meeting Dash
Robotics Club members excited to
Robotics Club members excited to show their programs.
Exploring the Augmented Reality sandbox
Exploring the Augmented Reality sandbox
Learning to code with BeeBots
Learning to code with BeeBots
Learning to code with Ozobots
Learning to code with Ozobots
Making music with Makey Makey
Making music with Makey Makey
TDC, Vanessa Jones,
TDC, Vanessa Jones, leading binary bracelet making
Student proud of his K_Nex creation
Student proud of his K_Nex creation

I highly encourage you to consider transforming your Science Night into a full-fledged STEAM event and am glad to offer any insight I can give. Contact me at randi.sather@austinisd.org or @PerezReads. Full STEAM ahead!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s