Photo by Debbie Teofilo / Special to the Sun
Above: Teacher Mer Connor (from left) watches the Aguirre family (Brianna, Manuel, Daleysa, and mom Danna) weigh items at the SFUSD K-3 Science & Engineering Night on April 5.
Left: Sullivan Hayes (left) adds the top cup to a tower he constructed during Science & Engineering Night at SFUSD Fay Ranch campus on April 5 as mom Corrin Hayes cheers him on.
By Debbie Teofilo
Special to the Sun
Steam was escaping through the windows at South Fork Elementary School cafeteria as students and their parents were solving problems as part of the hands-on STEAM activities during Science & Engineering Night on April 5. STEAM is a project-based learning program in schools to nurture children’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
After receiving warm welcomes from Principal Kim Kissack-Villani and Kindergarten Teacher Mer Conner, then eating pizza dinners to gain strength, over 80 students and family members worked on projects such as building structures out of various materials and designs, determining weights of items, constructing strong boats from foil, and using recipes to make slime.
Conner organized the event so students in grades kindergarten through third grade could have fun with their families while at the same time develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. Arts-enhanced activities were added to science-based tasks in order to encourage the use of creativity and innovation in solving design problems.
Conner was pleased to see families working together to come up with solutions to the problems at each activity station. The parents were instructed to help guide and encourage the children on a specific task, but it was clear that the kids were also focused on enjoying “family time.” Conner smiled and said, “I think the parents are enjoying themselves as much as the kids are!”