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Hands-on experiences await Silver Mesa students during STEAM night

Dec 15, 2016 11:35AM ● By Julie Slama

A popular exhibit at last year’s Silver Mesa STEAM night was the technology table as seen here with student Brielle Buchanan. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Hundreds of students, their families and community members are expected to try their hands at various interactive science exhibits during Silver Mesa’s science and arts night.
The school’s second annual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) night will be held Tuesday, Jan. 17.
“We want to promote science, engineering, technology and math and at the same time, celebrate students’ creative side in the arts with our Reflections display,” Principal Julie Fielding said.  “This night gives us a chance to put it all together.”
During the evening, patrons can view entries into the school’s Parent-Teacher Association’s Reflections contest.  These will include entries in music, literature, photography, dance, film and both 3-dimensional art and visual arts.
There also will be about 80 science fair entries on display in the school’s multi-purpose room, coordinated by parent science fair volunteer James Baron.
“When my daughter was in first grade, the science fair didn’t involve the entire school,” he said.  “I thought it was a good opportunity for all students to participate so the next year, we offered it to everybody.”
His daughter, now a fifth-grader, and others can participate in the school science fair and will have their entries on display before judging Jan. 18.  Fifth-graders will be judged to advance to the district level, with some fourth-graders being invited to share their entries as well, Fielding said.
“This night grew out of the science fair and we thought if we brought in other interactive ideas, it would be a fun, family event that would appeal to our entire community,” she said.
Barron said that last year students seemed to enjoy the technology table, so he plans to bring it back this year.  Last year’s technology table featured a display of previous “breakthroughs” in technology such as a Mac SE computer, cassette tape player, VHS video tapes, Polaroid camera and computer floppy disks.
“A lot of the students couldn’t figure out how to play the cassette tapes.  I went to a technology night at another school and they had an old (electronic) typewriter.  The kids thought it was the most amazing thing and they lined up just to push the keys,” he said.
Also returning will be the University of Utah physics department outreach program with several interactive experiences, Barron said.  Last year, cosmic rays and color diffraction hands-on exhibits were popular as well as a 3D pen that was brought to illustrate how science, technology and art are tied together.
Another favorite last year was learning about virtual reality by using Google Cardboard with videos.  Videos range from discovering animals to visiting historic places to watching Bode Miller ski.
Also represented were the school’s Masterpiece Art and Music programs and the School Community Council’s internet safety information, all which have been invited back to this school year’s event. 
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