Sunday, December 4, 2016

Full Steam Ahead!

November 17, 2016 was a magnificent night at Curtis Elementary.  This is our second year of having a STEAM Night, and it was a great success.  STEAM Night is a night full of fun, innovative activities for students to demonstrate to parents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics that they are learning each day at school.   

We even had some students in our Robotics Club unveil their project that they had been working on for nearly a year!  This is their robot! 
They not only constructed this little guy, but they also programmed him too!  They are still working on getting him just right, and can program him to do more things.  That is the beauty of learning.... we are never finished!  

We also had several challenges during the night and one of those challenges was the Marshmallow Challenge.  Students and parents worked together to create a structure
as tall as they could using marshmallows, spaghetti noodles (uncooked of course), and tape!  Students from
various classrooms and the library were connected through Zoom (a website to allow for video conferencing) and could see and talk to one  another throughout the challenge,

Each grade level also had various challenges and activities. There were circuits for families to experiment with, cardboard games students built, and even a cardboard mini golf course! 

The big hit of the night was the hover craft that sixth grade students helped to construct.  With the support of the 
Weatherford ISD Maintenance Department, we had boards cut so that students could take the supplies and build it.  (Safety First!  We wanted to make sure kids were not handling power tools!)  The hover craft was powered by a leaf blower motor.  With some boards, a shower curtain, and a hose, we had lift off! 

Another popular area at Curtis that night was they gym.  This is where we had a Spyro maze.  Students and parents could navigate a maze using a robot ball and an iPad.  Students and parents alike loved the air cannons also.  With the help from a
fog machine, Curtis students assisted families with filling the cannon up with fog so that smoke rings bounded out of the cannon with full force!  They also knocked down cup pyramids with these cannons.  

This night was a fantastic way for parents and the community to see the wonderful things students are learning at school.  Teachers are looking for ways to "hook" students and make learning fun!  Many of the Curtis classrooms are equipped with Maker's Spaces so students can build and discover how the world works. We want to create a place where students do not just consume information.  We want them to make and create and find their passion.  This also helps them to see the purpose of learning, and having a purpose to learn is half the battle of students retaining what they learn.

I am so proud of this event and the work the teachers and students put into having a successful STEAM Night. This was not just about teachers showcasing learning in the classroom or planning activities for kids.  Our Students helped to get ready.  They not only shared what they have been doing in class, but they planned and demonstrated the activities and games throughout the school.  This was about the students!  Students led-teachers were facilitators so our students could lead the learning!