Hodge Road Elementary wrapped up its first full year as a STEM school by hosting its first STEM Night last week.
The night set up activities for students and their parents to practice some of the skills emphasized in a STEM school: problem-solving, patience and working in teams.
“(STEM activities help) students know how to think and how to problem solve,” said STEM Coordinator Allyn Arrowood. “The answer isn’t one right way in real life … instead of just giving kids rote assignments, we’re helping them develop their own thought processes.”
The night featured activities that required students to think about what they could do to affect outcomes. They were activities like putting together a roller skate and sending a paper cutout down a makeshift zip line.
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There was also a take-home project for students: they were challenged to create something with unsharpened pencils.
Some of the winning displays included a model of a football field, the Golden Gate Bridge and some original inventions.
That project served a dual purpose, Arrowood said. It also helped get parents involved in STEM night.
“I thought it was great for parental involvement instead of standing back and watching,” Arrowood said. “The culture here has changed since STEM has become a part of it.”
For a school like Hodge Road, parent involvement and the general change among students is huge, Arrowood said.
Before Hodge Road started with the STEM project, Arrowood said students often talked about wanting to pass on careers that required higher education.
Now, she said, students want to be engineers, meteorologists and other professions that require a college education. Some students, she said, even go so far as to pick what college they’d prefer to attend.