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Student playing with sticks for an engineering activity at North Preschool STEAM night
  • STEM & Innovation

On March 19, North Preschool hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (STEAM) night for some 50 families from 6 to 7 p.m. Young learners flocked to the classrooms and gymnasium for about a dozen different activities and projects. Webster and Grand Mountain Preschool joined in the fun.

“We decided to do a STEAM Night for one of our family outreach activities, just to build interest in science and engineering. Even at an early age, it’s so much fun to see the kids experiment with different things and see how they react and learn a little bit more about the natural world,” said North Preschool Principal Karen Brand.

STEAM builds on STEM education by incorporating visual arts, design, music, theater and dance. This holistic approach fosters creativity and imagination along with artistic expression while learning science, technology, engineering and math.

“In our class we do a lot of music and the spin drums that we have in there is one of my classes’ favorites,” said Cherish Blair, Webster Elementary Preschool teacher. “We really incorporate music a lot so they learned how to make them,” Blair said, as she demonstrated the craft.

It was a night for preschoolers to showcase their school and skills.

“I like STEM night because we get to do a lot of experiments,” said six-year-old Matthew Delgado, who sat at a painting table together with his whole family.

“We like STEM night because it’s an activity we can do with the family that’s related to school and we’re able to learn about STEM subjects and topics. It’s just really fun to come out here for the kids,” said Daniel Delgado, Matthew’s dad, who brought wife Stefanie and their preschooler, Zachary. 

Among North Preschool’s STEAM Night activities, kids could choose to:

  • Assemble and customize a spin drum that makes noise

  • Knead homemade ‘play dough’ to make shapes or objects

  • Observe gravity by constructing a floating ball device out of a cardboard cone and straw 

  • Construct paper rockets with straws to see if they fly

  • Make puffy paint by mixing shaving foam, food dye and school glue or with fizzy paint using baking soda, water and food coloring

  • Stir up some Olbleck, a suspension of cornstarch and water, that changes consistency depending on applied pressure

  • Experience the chemical reaction of vegetable oil, water, food coloring and Alka Seltzer tablets to make colorful lava bottles 

There was even a room to plant seeds and pick your favorite colored Carnation flower. Parents seemed to enjoy the activities as much as the young learners.

“We come to STEAM night because it’s a really good way for her to learn new things, like the building of the marshmallows into little construction things,” said Jessika Ulmer, referring to her five-year-old daughter, Lorelai. “It helps her to use all of her brain parts.”

It’s not all fun and games. In one classroom, there was serious discussion about what engineers do in real life.

“So, did you know there’s all kinds of different engineers? Do you know what engineers do?” asked Preschool Teacher Ashley Murphy. She and nine-year-old Miguell Joe Saud sat at a table covered with marshmallows and toothpicks while constructing geometric dimensional shapes. Students also used geostones for building patterned designs.

“Well, they’re kind of like inventors,” Saud began. “Except engineers, they like, help things stay fixed - like they’re supposed to pretty much.”

North Preschool offers four family activity nights per academic year and Brand said the STEAM theme was a first this year. Teachers picked their favorite project to host in their classrooms. 

“It’s really fun at this age to have them try all these things,” said Brand. “They just get so excited to explore their world in many different ways in the classroom. This was just another way that we could bring a different set of activities where parents could interact with the kids and just have some of that super passion that our three-and-four-year-olds bring to what they’re doing.”