Photo contributed by Michele Madril
An evening of educational fun drew 125 participants with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
STEAM Night, which was held Jan. 18 at Irrigon Elementary School, included a “Science of Electricity” assembly with an outreach team from the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry.
In the library, students downloaded instructions from laptops into small robots, and then lined them up to race. Students quickly learned that correct coding was one of the keys in winning.
The Irrigon Jr/Sr High Drone Club presented a demonstration using First Person View goggles to drive drones around a course. Junior Gracie Stirk, a member of the new club, said she got involved because she finds drones interesting and they provide many opportunities for exploration.
Students practiced their math skills in a delicious way — measuring ingredients to make smoothies under the direction of staff from the Oregon State University Extension Service. Also, the Bank of Eastern Oregon taught students the proper way to write a check and proper use of decimals.
Students assembled science kits, with materials and instructions to conduct 12 experiments at home. Also, participants learned about the “Hour of Code,” a global movement introducing millions of students worldwide to computer science.
Volunteer Lisa Mueller, a design manager at Microsoft in Seattle, was thrilled to share technology excitement with students, including three of her nieces who attend Irrigon schools.
“Coding is just a set of instructions, anybody can do it,” she said. “This shows kids it’s a career path that can take them anywhere they want to go.”
The Port of Morrow sponsored an activity about oobleck, a material that is polymers and non-Newtonian fluid. In simple terms, it’s not a liquid or a solid and consists of cornstarch and water. A chorus of “That’s cool,” “Is it slime?” and “Wow, this is amazing!” could be heard throughout the classroom as students made it.
The “A” in STEAM featured rock painting with vibrant colors and various themes emerging. Organized by Irrigon Rocks, the community group helps inspire creativity and encourages people to hide their rocks for others to find.
Principal Erin Stocker said STEAM Night was a great way to celebrate science and the arts.
“Finding ways to show participants how technology touches so many aspects of our lives and what career paths it can lead to is really positive,” she said.