Silver Mesa Elementary brings back night of hands-on science, art to its communityApr 03, 2022 06:30PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
After a year hiatus, Silver Mesa Elementary’s sixth STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math—night was back with full community support.
An estimated 500 people came to take part in 12 different STEAM activities ranging from extracting strawberries’ DNA to being entertained by a magician, PTA president Ashley Backman said.
Last year’s annual event was canceled as health and safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow large group gatherings.
“We were really excited for those who came out and were supportive; it was phenomenal,” she said. “The kids, everyone, had a great time and we had activities for every age in the family. We just love our community; this is an opportunity to come and experience things that they maybe wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to. We love providing that for them.”
Families were able to take part in interactive activities. Some participants liked trying coding through Hour of Code and Scratch, others tried out directing Spheros to follow mazes on the floor, and crowds tried catching balls thrown by Jordan High’s robot and learned how, when they’re in high school, they can be part of the team that programs it to compete in regional competitions.
“It’s great when the high school kids come and it was really fun for them to interact with the kids,” Backman said.
There were hands-on activities such as writing a message with vitamin E on a piece of paper, then having another smear it with iodine to show a secret message.
“The kids really liked that. They were learning about different elements, but also having a lot of fun,” she said.
They also learned about suction, using a ping pong ball, tube and hairdryer; discovered more about germs and bacteria using chenille stems in petri dishes; discovered more about the properties of light by creating rainbows and polarization using filters; and tried their hand using long pinchers to open up a Band-Aid in a Mason jar.
“The kids learned they had to be very skilled with their motor skills and it was teaching them about surgery and how tight and crazy it can be,” Backman said.
On the art side, students displayed their superpowers, such as “I have the power to turn off devices” and “I have the power to ask for help from a trusted adult” from the previous week’s digital safety artwork for White Ribbon Week.
There also was a student Reflections video display and an opportunity to try yoga, where students learned the form connects both art and science.
Another display was a table filled with retro technology.
“It was great for kids to reach out and touch and look at to see how things have changed over time,” she said.
Parents also had the option to attend a digital brain defense class that introduces a way for parents to discuss how to best structure a schedule with their family and approach digital safety as a follow-up to their White Ribbon Week.