Silver Mesa’s STEAM Night: ‘Full speed ahead’ interactive learningMar 31, 2023 10:48AM ● By Julie Slama
At Silver Mesa’s STEAM Night, a balloon filled with hydrogen ignited, delighting many students and their families. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
During Silver Mesa Elementary’s STEAM Night, students and their families learned that chemistry is magical.
Earlier in the day, the students screamed in excitement when a balloon filled with hydrogen was ignited, exploding in a fireball. Many students returned that evening to share the same experience and more with their families.
Fourth-grader Lucian Sanchez was one of those students.
“It’s so cool seeing the science and learning how it works,” Lucian said. “I didn’t know it was going to be a big explosion before, but now I’m ready for it.”
Along with Lucian was second-grader Sylvie and seventh-grader Theo along with their mother, Erin.
“This is a good way to spend time with the kids and our community outside of the school day,” Erin Sanchez said. “They’re learning and having fun at the same time.”
Seventh-grader Grace Belliston was with her fifth-grade brother, Grant.
“This is the best; I’ve been to STEAM Nights here before,” she said.
Close to the chemistry demonstration, and not far from where there was a space art station where students could construct paper rockets and planets, fifth-grader Chelsea Frees was driving a Sphero in the school’s kiva.
“I’m learning about angles and how it moves,” she said. “It helps me think, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
In addition, students learned about magnetism, DNA, coding, virtual reality, past technology, space simulation and robotics demonstrations by Jordan High’s robotics team as well as Silver Mesa’s FIRST LEGO League team that recently competed at the regional qualifier at Hillcrest High.
Fifth-grader John Penrod thought coding the robots was a “cool thing” and his third-grade brother, Michael, wants to be in FLL.
Their mother, Brooke Ann, said it was a good opportunity to see the robotics first-hand.
“The kids wanted to see what was going on and learn about it,” she said, adding that they also liked the virtual reality goggles.
PTA President Ashley Backman said the school holds STEAM Night in conjunction with the school’s science fair, which had the students’ science projects’ trifolds on display. Students’ Reflections projects were to be exhibited for several weeks.
Backman said a lot of students enjoyed the experiment where their petri dishes had Jell-O in it with sprinkles.
“It made it look like a culture and there were sprinkles all over the school, but the kids had fun,” she said. “They also really enjoyed that Space Mission lab because it was interactive.”
Another interactive session was when students used weights to predict how fast their chenille pipe cleaner stick-figures on Popsicle-stick skis or snowboards could go on a downhill track.
“I love when our projects are interactive because these are elementary kids who love to touch and manipulate and explore with their senses,” she said. “This gives students an opportunity to learn or experiment maybe with things they don’t have at home, like Spheros, or learning more about robotics.”
Joining Silver Mesa were several businesses, post-secondary schools and individuals who set up opportunities for students.
“We bring in some who provide really cool experiences for our students and so they’re able to just dip their fingers into the resources are out there to help them learn and grow,” Backman said. “It really is a community event.”