Can you make a looping roller coaster for a marble? Can you identify a shark by its tooth? Do mealworms like the shade or the light? These are all questions young students and their families found the answers to at the first STEM Family Night at Oak Hills Elementary. It was a huge turnout with around 460 people at the K-2 Night, with 400 anticipated at the upcoming 3-5 Night. High schoolers helped young students with experiments. Students were encouraged to try many of the experiments at home too. The night was capped off with a presentation by the Science Museum of Minnesota.
The idea for a STEM Family Night came from Heather McKinley, a 4th grade teacher at OHE. She was inspired by similar events during her time as a Science Specialist at St. Paul Public Schools. With the help of STEM teacher, Leah Yoemans, English Language teacher, Stephanie Kahlert, the District Equity Dept., the school’s PTO and the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce, the team was able to bring the science camp experience right to students and their families. McKinley says she hopes the success of this first STEM Family Night can turn into a district wide event, and inspire surrounding districts to do the same.