The scene at Bullard Elementary School was recently filled with parents and students taking part in a number of activities focused on five areas of academics at the recent BES Family STEAM Night, held Tuesday, March 27, throughout the campus.
“We love the opportunity to open our doors and to have our students’ families come in and interact with the students, our staff members, and each other and allowing them to experience activities involving STEAM,” said Jenny Kasson, BES principal. “We had such a great night with a large crowd coming out and having a night of family fun together.”
According to Kasson’s count, an estimated crowd of 500 students and parents gathered inside of the school for the event that allows exposure to the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics through a number of activities.
“STEAM is new to our school this year,” said Kasson. “We created a STEAM lab for our campus this district and our students go into the lab for one hour once a week and they participate in various activities involved in STEAM.”
Kasson said in planning the family fun STEAM night, she wanted to show parents the variety of activities afforded to her students on a daily basis.
“The purpose for the Family STEAM Night was to allow our parents the opportunity to see and experience some of the activities our students get to do during school time,” said Kasson. “Several of the activities were those that the students had already done, and some of them were ones they haven’t gotten the chance to experience, but will soon.”
The event afforded a number of STEAM-related activities for parents and students to experience together, with two of the hit activities being a giant green screen similar to those on television weather reports, as well as an escape room where both parents and students had to combine forces to solve mathematical equations in order to find their way out safely.
“The green screen was definitely one of the biggest attractions at Family STEAM Night,” said Kasson. “It was great to see pictures on Facebook of the various backgrounds on the screen and the parents’ and students’ reactions. The escape room also got a lot of people’s attention. Inside of the room, they had to work together to solve math problems, which is something our students and parents are used to doing.”
Additionally, other activities offered at the BES Family STEAM Night included snap circuits, focusing on building electrical connections; robotics, focusing on using robots to accomplish simple tasks; Bee-Bots, focused on learning programming and coding; culinary arts, focused on creating edible treats; and more.
The event also pulled in support from several groups from Bullard High School, including the culinary arts department, robotics club, and engineering club, to name a few, an opportunity Kasson said allowed her younger students to work with alongside their older counterparts.
“It’s really great when we can get students from Bullard High School to come over and interact with our students,” said Kasson. “A lot of our students are at the age where they look up to the older students, and they’re also able to see they’ll be able to continue learning in STEAM areas as they get older. Through the partnership with the these high school groups, it allows the younger students to find areas of interest as they get to high school, while also showing the high school students the great things we’re doing on our campus.”
Kasson said the response she and the school has received for hosting the BES Family STEAM Night has been very positive, creating a lot of excited discussion about the event days afterwards.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” said Kasson. “It’s great to see the event was well-received and well-attended. Since we held the event, our students, as well as our teachers and parents, have not stopped talking about it, saying it was one of the most fun events they’ve ever been a part of. Hopefully the students and parents had a great time being able to interact with each other and take a hands-on approach to what we’re learning at our campus. Our teachers really enjoyed watching the students and parents have a fun night together through experiencing what we learn here every day.”
The opportunity for parents to be a part of their child’s educational experience at BES is a cause near and dear to the heart of Kasson.
“I want our parents to see what’s going on and to be involved with their students’ education,” said Kasson. “I love the fact that the parents were able to come in and visit the various classrooms that had activities, while also seeing the work we’ve done that decorates our hallways. Our students are excited about learning, and you could definitely see that as many of them pulled their parents by the hand throughout the night. For parents to get a glimpse into what their child is learning at school is very beneficial to us as a school district.”
With the success of the BES Family STEAM Night, Kasson said she can see this year’s inaugural event becoming a yearly tradition.
“I can definitely see us having a STEAM night event on a yearly basis,” said Kasson. “With this being the first year for STEAM at our campus, this was our first steps into it, and we’re still learning about it ourselves. We’re building some good momentum and excitement. I want our students to come to school and have at least one thing to look forward to, and through STEAM lab, as well as our art and PE classes, I believe we offer our students that avenue to express themselves. I do know several teachers are already making plans for next year, so hopefully it’ll be an event that happens for years to come.”