The UNCP School of Education, in partnership with the Public Schools of Robeson County, held a Family STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Day for students in grades K-8 and their families on March 24.
The event drew 96 students from 22 schools across the region who took part in 19 hands-on activities led by teacher candidates and other student volunteers.
They chose to participate in activities ranging from activities such as “catapults,” where students designed and built catapults using a plastic spoon, rubber bands, and craft sticks to launch pom-poms, to “snap circuits” where they completed circuit challenges to light a bulb, activate an alarm, or create a motion detector.
Parents were also provided with informative newsletters that were created by teacher candidates in the elementary education program to extend their children’s learning at home.
The event proved to be a success, according to Dr. Kay Pitchford, event coordinator and assistant professor in the School of Education. As one parent commented, “This was great! [I] wish it could occur on a more routine basis. What a great Saturday activity for our area and our kids.”
The idea for Family STEAM Day originated from an assignment in an elementary math methods course in which students were required to help plan and participate in a Family Math and Science Night at a local school.
However, this event was limited to the students in one course at one school each semester. In order to include more teacher candidates, reach more local students, and to strengthen the university’s partnership with the Public Schools of Robeson County, the Dean’s Leadership Team at the School of Education decided to expand the event.
As a result, students in a course required of all teacher candidates across programs participated, and, with the help of a generous Duke Energy grant, additional materials were purchased that allowed organizers to offer many of the activities. More than 100 teacher candidates and other student volunteers assisted with Saturday’s Family STEAM Day.
The School of Education plans to hold a Family STEAM Day each semester.