Elementary School STEAMing With Activity
BEMUS POINT – Once again the Bemus Point Elementary School opened its doors after school hours to welcome in parents and students for the annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics night. And again, Principal Sonja DuBois’ favorite moment was the “ah-ha” moment when a student innovates.
“It’s STEAM Night, so we turned it into sort of a makerspace and invited various facilities in our Chautauqua County area that would offer all of our students exposure to different STEAM activities in our county,” DuBois said.
New in its third year, the STEAM Night is expanding its scope. Each year, the event looks to showcase what the elementary school has to offer in terms of STEAM, and to show the students the places where STEAM is used in the county.
This year, the school opened its doors to various outside businesses and organizations to help with the event. Those organizations included Cummins Engine, the Audubon Community Nature Center, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and the Martz-Kohl Observatory, True Value, Prendergast Library, Full Moon Rising Bakery, National Inventors Hall of Fame, Girls Scouts of America, Michaels and students from Erie-2 BOCES and St. Bonaventure University.
This year’s event was more focused on a makerspace theme that allowed students and parents to create while they were there.
DuBois said students received exposure to any hands on activity related to STEAM from coding to engineering. Some even created robots with cardboard boxes. There was also a family competition where family members were allowed to create a catapult.
DuBois said the event expected to see 100 students throughout the night. She said the school promoted STEAM Night heavily this year and tailored a specific competition to fifth grade students who, as a whole, often do not attend.
“We created the STEAM Night because we want our students to have that deep understanding of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. We know that’s the future of learning for our students and the future for job opportunities,” DuBois said. “We want them to be excited about (STEAM) and in the past a lot of those areas were more challenging for students. We want them to not be afraid of (STEAM), we want them to enjoy it and embrace it. So to have these events where we celebrate all of those aspects is exciting for the kids.”