Host a fun STEM night for students and families. Find out what we did in our classroom to introduce coding to the families in our community. Beginner coding centers for hands-on learning and exploring.
Our school hosted a STEM night for the families in our community a few weeks ago. Families were invited to come to our school and explore different STEM activities presented by teachers. There were several rooms throughout the school that had different experiences that they could try.
When they arrived at the school, they were given a program that outlined which rooms they could visit, what activity was in each room, and what grade level they were best suited for. Once they had that, they could move around as they liked.
Our awesome Teacher-Librarian did an amazing job organizing this fun STEM night. She was a superstar at getting everything together, ordering what was needed, and organizing supplies. She got everyone excited about it, and was great at communicating about the event so that families knew to come.
You need to check her out on Instagram to see all her amazing ideas:
I am writing this blog post to give you a look at what we set-up in our classroom. We had 4 table centers and an activity on the carpet to introduce coding to the families that came to visit.
The idea behind our room was to give them some inspiration to try coding at home. It was a great success and we had so much positive feedback from the community!
Have you ever hosted a STEM night at your school? What did you do? Let me know in the comments!
Our teacher-librarian found some awesome books that we could put on display. Families and kids were looking through them all night, and taking pictures of the covers so they could add them to their home library. Now we have these books for our school library too!
These little robots are a great way to introduce coding to young kids. They are so much fun to work with, and they allow students to explore coding with their easy color codes. The older students were using the color codes, and younger siblings were drawing pictures that the Ozobots could follow.
It was great to see the students showing their families how the Ozobots worked, and the adults were so impressed with how much the kids knew! We have used these in our classroom before, and they are always a favorite when we bring them out.
This was a no-tech activity that was a very popular center throughout the night. You don’t need any robots or tech to run this center. To play, you place the arrows on the grid to code the path that the caterpillar needs to take to get to the butterfly. The students and their families worked together to solve the task cards, and it was great seeing them work together.
You can learn more about Unplugged Coding in this blog post if you are interested.
This is an activity that is available in my store if you would like to try it with your students:
We had our iPads available at this table with Scratch Jr loaded up for everyone to try. This app uses simple block coding, and is perfect for introducing this type of coding to your students. There is also a Scratch website that is great for kids that are ready for more complex coding.
Need more iPad apps for kindergarten? I wrote about My Top 5 iPad Apps!
This was another no-tech coding activity. Students used directional coding to get the hamster to its snack. I printed out 12 simple arrows and laminated them, and that was it!
Students and their families explored this coding game, and it was great for younger siblings.
I hope that our STEM night got families excited to try to include some STEM into their lives, and see just how amazing their kids are already with these activities.
We use a lot of these activities and programs in our classroom already, but it got me even more excited about incorporating them more.
The only regret I have is that I did not get a chance to visit other classrooms to see the amazing things that they were doing. I heard about what they did from students the next day though and they sounded really great: building a catapult, building protection around an egg so it doesn’t break when it drops, coding with different robots (Bee-Bot, Code-a-Pillar, Code-and-Go Robot Mouse), and there was so much more!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments about your school’s STEM night, or share your favorite STEM activities!
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