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Right before the winter break, the parent involvement team at Rocky Mountain Elementary collaborated around the idea of bringing parents together to witness STEM learning with their children. The result was STEM night.
Last week, parents entered the school to see two Dancing NAO robots programmed by a Niwot High School Junior and a Skyline Freshman (whose alma mater was Rocky Mountain Elementary!). Surrounding the robots were dozens of smiling students asking, "Can he walk? Can he talk? Can he do my homework?" accompanied by parents recording the robots on their smart phones, ready to make a post on facebook. In their child's classroom, parents saw a video defining STEM education and surveyed all of the grade level Design Challenge prototypes.
The best part of the night came when students and parents participated in STEM projects. Some groups played with cubelets while others built towers out of legos and K'nex. Hands down the most engaging and competitive project was the marshmallow challenge. Students and parents collaborated as they strove to outbuild competing groups in constructing the largest tower in the group using only spaghetti, 3 feet of string, and 3 feet of tape.
In the end students, parents and even teachers had a blast learning about STEM education. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education for providing the funding for such an opportunity.