Friday, November 21, 2014

STEM Family Night Draws Big Crowd at Landrum Middle

Math, science, engineering and technology were the focus of attention at Landrum Middle School on Oct. 28 as the school and its partnering program, KIPP Courage College Prep at Landrum Middle, hosted its first ever STEM Family Night.

About 250 students, family members and partnering volunteers joined with campus faculty during an evening program that included 15 workstations related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Supporting program partners included ExxonMobil, Teacher Heaven and Learning Together, a student-to-student based mentoring program supported by United Way.

Special event speakers included Roy Galvan, who works in the oil and gas industry and is a Landrum Middle graduate, and Karen Needham, a BP petroleum engineer recruiter who set up a workstation showing students how they might work in fields and careers related to oil and gas discovery and production.

During the evening program, students and their families received a special passport and then earned passport stamps by visiting stations and working through problems or STEM-based challenges. The goal was to attend nine stations – three math, three science, and three in STEM field areas.

Eighth-Grade Assistant Principal Brian Shillingburg and Meredith Cook, who is a math and science interventionist, began work on the program in August. Brian had conducted a similar program in another district, and he knew that it would connect with Landrum students and families, too.

“This is a real world, hands-on chance for students and parents to have a personal and up close experience with math and science. STEM careers are something that my eighth-graders are experiencing through Naviance today,” Shillingburg said.

“We hope to plant seeds in kids today, and encourage them to pursue and work in STEM careers in the future,” he added.

In many cases, organizers selected areas where students were struggling, and then created activities that parents could take home to work on with their children. The stations ranged from FDP Tri-ominoes, a fraction, decimals and percent matching math game, to Extracting DNA from Fruit, in which families learn how to extract DNA from strawberries.

Students and families had the option of exploring STEM careers through a variety of lectures and face-to-face conversations, which included an opportunity to speak with a counselor about high school requirements to graduate with an endorsement.

Landrum Middle School and KIPP Courage plan to host a follow up STEM Family Night next spring. Check the Landrum Middle website for updates.

The evening program ended with the delivery of 60 pizzas donated by United Way and a raffle of donated items from Teacher Heaven.


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