K-5 students and families flock to first STEAM Night

Robotics, circuitry and glow rooms highlight STEAM Family Night

Mom Abby Mendoza, son Alex Masunas and dad Brian Masunas have fun in the circuitry room during STEAM Family Night

STEAM Family Night organizer Sarah Wood noticed one interesting thing during the event that drew around 200 people recently at Godfrey Elementary.

Very few parents were texting or on their cell phones.

Godfrey Elementary Principal Andrew Steketee watches students color in the glow room during STEAM Family Night on Oct. 24

“If they had their phones out, it was because they were taking pictures or video of what their child was doing, but otherwise they were engaged with their child, learning and experimenting themselves,” said Wood, in her 14th year as technology and media integration specialist at Godfrey-Lee. “That is a huge win in my book.”

At the district’s first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Night, kindergarten through fifth grade students and their parents hurried from classroom to classroom to see what fun, new activity awaited.

They found robotics to control,  3D printing, circuitry experiments, math games and even Loteria (Mexican bingo).

In the popular glow room, participants  made glow-in-the-dark jewelry, color in the dark and play with Giant Jenga, Neon Legos and 3D math.

Sarah Wood, organizer of STEAM Night and the technology and media integration specialist at Godfrey-Lee, talks to participants during the family event

Developing Young Thinkers

Abby Mendoza and boyfriend Brian Masunas, both graduates of Godfrey-Lee, enjoyed the circuitry room with their son Alex, a Young Fives student.

“My son’s enjoying it so I think that’s awesome,” Mendoza said.

Wood said they emphasize the six C’s at Godfrey-Lee; collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence and how those fit into the classroom. STEAM is such a huge catalyst for making those things happen.

“It’s about getting kids hands-on experiences and making meaning of the contents and helping them build those skills that they need to be just people,” said Wood, whose primary job is to get STEAM integrated in all the classrooms.

“We’re really helping parents understand and see first-hand what the kids are doing in the classroom.”

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Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more. Read Cris's full bio or email Cris.

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