On Sunday, December 15, approximately 50 families gathered at SAR Academy for the school’s fourth annual Family STEM Day. This year’s Chanukah theme was woven into each activity and incorporated science, math, engineering, coding and robotics. The program was organized so that every family had an opportunity to engage in five of the 11 available interactive STEM stations of their choice. Many participants had difficulty choosing from amongst the various options which included a dreidel design and spin competition, various Chanukah coding activities, candle missile launch, exploration of the brain and our senses, Chanukah-themed “Escape the Room,” programming a robot to reach the pure olive oil and many more.
Family STEM Day is a wonderful way to raise awareness in the community about the importance of STEM education and to allow parents, grandparents and children to engage, learn and enjoy together. “It was amazing to see how each STEM activity engaged and excited multiple generations simultaneously. I am not sure who had more fun—the children, the parents or even the grandparents in attendance. The power of curiosity, exploration, and creativity reverberated throughout the school,” said Dr. Chaya Fine, SAR Academy’s director of science curriculum and STEM Initiative, after this very successful day of educational fun and family time. Goldi Weiser, SAR teacher, commented, “It was especially great to see the kids demonstrate their knowledge of coding and teach their parents how to code using Scratch.” Rivka Heisler, SAR lower school STEM coordinator, noticed how the students’ comfort and ease with open-ended challenges has grown since the school has implemented STEM into the curriculum.
Although the activities were geared for elementary students, children of all ages became involved, and the program also brought together middle school student volunteers as well as science, technology, math and engineering teachers from all grades as they volunteered to facilitate the stations. This day would not be possible without the tremendous creativity that SAR’s STEM faculty puts into all that they do!