On November 21, the Brawerman West community celebrated its fourth annual night of invention, innovation, and creativity. This year’s STEM Night (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) was a fantastic opportunity for students and their families to explore crafts, science, and technology while enjoying each other’s company.
A Brawerman West faculty team headed by Science Specialist Limor Magen, Technology Specialist Adrienne Coffield, and Math Specialist Christine Ahn led the planning of STEM Night. They sought to make STEM Night as sustainable and interactive as possible, while aligning the evening’s programming with current STEM education best practices.
This year, STEM Night featured even more opportunities for students to play in open-ended exploration environments. In a large Free-Build Area, students tinkered with a range of traditional and nontraditional items like Legos and recyclable materials. In addition, students had the opportunity to take apart and rebuild technological devices like computers, telephones, and printers. Students dismantled these discarded devices to peer inside and try to rebuild machines on their own. Other activities in the exploration area focused on reusing recycled materials in artistic ways, such as turning paper into jewelry or decorating kitchen tiles with liquid ink paint.
“One of the best parts of STEM Night is the opportunity for students just to have fun, explore, and see where that exploration takes them,” said Michelle Handzo, Assistant Principal of Brawerman West, who oversaw the planning of STEM Night. “It doesn’t have to be about a specific end product, but about seeing where creativity takes you and discovering the hidden processes all around us.”
Another new feature of STEM Night was a virtual reality experience, in which students and families experimented with the Oculus Go VR device. Playing the “Freaky Architect” VR game, families used the Oculus Go to build towering block structures and learn about physics in a virtual reality environment.
Principal Nadine Zysman highlighted the ways that STEM Night deepens connections in the Brawerman community. “STEM Night gives students and faculty the chance to work with new members of the Brawerman community in fun and unexpected ways,” she explained. “We love to see our families and teachers interacting across grade levels and subject areas to explore their passions and discover new interests.”
For example, veteran kindergarten teacher Bruce Green joined forces with first-year assistant teacher (and Brawerman alum herself!) Haley Ginsberg to lead the STEM Night suncatchers session. Other faculty duos facilitated exciting sessions such as slime recipes, roller-coaster design, spaghetti engineering, wind tunnel parachutes, and a “build your own terrarium” activity that taught students about zero-water gardening practices. The night was a huge success, and Brawerman looks forward to doing it again next year!