Starry night: Families join together for STEM event at local school

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Parents and children came together in a family event focusing on science and math at Greenfield Intermediate School.

Submitted photo

GREENFIELD – Parents joined with their children in hands-on math and science projects, gaining perspective on how they can do more at home at a recent event.

Greenfield Intermediate School recently hosted a STEM Night earlier this month, bringing adults and children together to explore science, technology, engineering, math – plus a little art.

“We want our parents to know we’re here for them, we’re here for kids,” said Susan Hillman, instructional coach for the school.

This is the second family night for the school this school year, and more are on the way.

“We had done a family reading event in the fall and had great turnout as far as families, and it was a great evening, so we decided we wanted to do a math and STEM night in the spring,” Hillman said.

From building a space needle with toothpicks and marshmallows, to multiplication war, to a “Starry Night”-inspired art project, Hillman said the event was designed to help show families how to work with their children at home through fun and creative activities.

Parents may be used to knowing one method of solving a math problem, for example, but now students are encouraged to come to an answer in multiple ways and explain how they arrived at the answer. And since G-C teachers are in the process of reviewing math practices and adopting curriculum, she said it’s important to bring families into the discussion and let them know how to answer questions or try new methods at home.

“In the future, careers like math and science are going to be really important for the kids,” she added.

The event also brought in the Greenfield-Central School Foundation, which distributed take-home building kits from The Home Depot. The Hancock County Public Library participated as well.

“Our station let students explore the International Space Station using our virtual reality goggles,” said Youth Services Librarian Jenny Cecil-Jessie in an email. “We brought information highlighting some of our library resources including video games, books and digital resources like Brainfuse, a free tutoring service.”

Snacks and the photo booth are always hits at these events, Hillman added. In the future, GIS plans to continue with family nights focused on reading and STEM, but also add a writing night.

“I think people are hungry for it right now because of the isolation with COVID, and parents are always asking, ‘How can I help my child at home? ‘What can I do at home to enrich what they do here at school?’” Hillman said.