Super STEM Saturday a Smashing Success

R. Hibbert
On Saturday, February 1, Newman held the first annual Super STEM Saturday, a science and technology showcase and fun fair for Lower School families. Featuring dozens of displays of the fascinating and fun experiments our students conduct each day in Lower School science, the event drew hundreds of families to campus for a morning of scientific discovery.
Science teachers, students, and volunteers spent much of Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning setting the stage for the event. Getting prepared for the event was a monumental task, but everything was ready just in time for the first visitors on Saturday morning.
As parents and students poured in the doors to the Lower School Lobby, attendees each received a special “passport” to take with them as they began their journey of exploration. At each station the attendees would receive a stamp, and once the booklet was filled, each child would receive a special STEM gift bag with tech tattoos, temperature-reactive pencils, a wristband, and other goodies.
But the experience of the event was a gift in itself. With 39 stations set up in Aronson Hall and the Lower School hallways, there was much more than a morning’s-worth of learning. There were stations dedicated to force and motion, engineering, robotics, electricity and magnetism, chemistry, mathematics, technology, fire safety, zoology, astronomy, and more. Visitors could mix up a polymer, launch a rocket, travel to the moon, solve puzzles, jump, color, program a robot, build a tower, and countless other activities. Guided by Newman students as STEM Ambassadors, the activities were limited only by curiosity.
Lower School Science Chair Jennifer Williams felt that the event was a huge success. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” she said. “There is a definite demand – and need – for these kinds of events, where parents, students, and educators work side by side on educational and engaging projects.” Though she is still cleaning up from the weekend’s events, she is looking forward to an even bigger and better Super STEM Saturday. “We would like to bring in more community partners, expand our programming for younger Greenies, and incorporate more faculty,” she said.
The true impact of this event was written plainly on the wide-eyed faces of the excited attendees, who virtually ran from exhibit to exhibit with their parents in tow. Third grader Oliver Teijelo had a great time and saw nearly every exhibit. “It was a lot of fun doing all of the activities and getting the stickers in my book,” he said, “but my favorite was the planetarium, where we got to go to outer space!”
The scientific method is based on testing hypotheses, understanding that many experiments will fail. This experiment, however, was an unmitigated success – and one we hope to reproduce soon.
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