A great education begins in the home with parents, families and carers being a child’s first, and most important, teachers. In fact, in the 2019 Youth in STEM Research report, 54 per cent of surveyed students said that their parents had the biggest influence on their subject selection.
Help families foster their child’s curiosity, confidence and creativity by hosting a Family STEM night. These events are a fantastic way to generate an interest in STEM throughout the whole school community.
Werribee Primary School in Victoria recently ran their third annual family STEM night. Over the last three years, this night has grown to be one of the most popular events on the annual school calendar. This year the event was attended by over 300 students and their families, and the event running time needed to be increased by an hour to accommodate the growing number of participants.
‘One of our best attended events. Lots of older siblings come back as they still want to be part of it!’
– Nathan, teacher at Werribee Primary School
Hands-on collaborative learning
This year, teachers set up 18 interactive, hands-on activity stations highlighting different aspect of STEM learning areas. Parents and kids participated together, creating a fun collaborative learning experience that families could then replicate at home.
Every year, the school incorporates a raffle into the event as an added incentive, but it is the fun activities that keep families coming back year after year.
‘I think I’m having more fun than she is’ remarked one parent, while another commented on how valuable it was that they could participate in the activities together with their child.
Ideas for your family STEM night
A family STEM night helps open up everyone’s eyes to the possibility of STEM subject areas. Activities incorporating digital technologies, such as green screen activities, always prove popular, but not everything requires high-tech equipment and additional resources. One of the most popular activities at every family STEM night is slime-making. It’s a fun, cheap, hands-on activity that demonstrates how chemical reactions can change the state of ingredients.
If you’re thinking of running a family STEM night, here are some great STEM activity ideas.
- Science: Slime-making
- Technology: Writing names in binary code
- Engineering: Building marble runs with blocks and household objects
- Mathematics: Problem-solving activities or creating tangrams