Friday nights are typically times for families to flock to the movies, sports or maybe a food truck event, but for hundreds of people on March 6, it was STEM night at Mililani Middle School. Students and their families converged on the Mililani Mauka campus for hands-on experiences with booths dedicated to
STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
"This is easily the best STEM Night we've had in five years," Mililani Middle School Principal Elynne Chung said. "Our team of teachers and students worked hard to prepare the campus for tonight."
STEM Night organizer teacher Jacob Kardash was determined to make this event a great one for students.nPart of the challenge is getting students to turn out.
"I went to each feeder school to ask teachers to urge their students to attend our event," Kardash said. "Their support is what made the turnout a great success. The event was a big hit due to all the devoted volunteers from schools, private companies, and organizations who shared their knowledge. Their presentations excited the community and promoted STEM."
The event also brought together members of the business community. Hawaiian Electric Co. representatives showed students how much human muscle power was required to light up a single incandescent bulb compared to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Oahu Makerspace brought along a 3D printer that demonstrated some of the new technologies becoming more available to the public.
For some of the students, STEM night was about more than learning — it was a chance to do some teaching.
The robotics teams for
Mililani High and Mililani Mauka Elementary set up booths where attendees could remote control the devices and learn how the robots were made.
"We have an amazing team of students who were eager to learn about building, driving, and programming a VEX IQ robot," Mililani Mauka Elementary teacher Lori Jakahi said. "Tonight, they have a chance to share what they learned and experienced with others."
Mililani Middle students also helped man booths for younger children to make soda bottle rockets. Younger students flocked to the table to design and cut out wings to attach to the liter bottles.
A constant flow of young students lined up in an area set up outside the cafeteria where the bottles were filled with water and pressurized air before they were allowed to pull the trigger and watch the rockets fly several stories into the sky.
Inside there were more oohs, laughs, questions, and the occasional loud clang of weights hitting the floor as Popsicle stick bridges collapsed. The turn out showed Friday nights are not only for movies and restaurants, but also for family learning.
Visit the Department's STEM page to learn more about how schools are integrating science, technology, engineering and math education.