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Full STEAM ahead at Independence Elementary Family STEAM Night

Independence STEAM NightFrom the marble mazes in the third-grade space, to the programmable robots in the STEAM Lab, to the Career Studio in the gym, the Family STEAM Night at Independence Elementary was a huge success.

Independence STEAM Night“It’s pretty awesome!” said parent Stephanie Fletcher, as she did cup-stacking with her children, kindergartener Azriyelah and fifth-grader Tavious, in the kindergarten activity area.  

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and it was everywhere at Independence on the evening of Feb. 9.

“Everything is hands-on. It’s all interactive,” said Sherri Tobin, an instructional coach at Independence. “We want the families to learn together, play together.”

Independence STEAM NightAnd play they did, especially in the fourth-grade area, where kids and parents alike built cars out of LEGOs and raced them down a long, smooth track.

But the evening wasn’t all fun and games. It was also an opportunity for students to show their parents some of what they’ve learned this year.

“They’re coming in tonight and finding out about the engineering design process their kids have been using,” Tobin said. “They’re learning about perseverance and productive struggle.”

Independence STEAM NightFor example, Tavious was proud to show off the vehicle he made for the fifth-grade egg drop. The goal was to build something that would keep a raw egg from breaking when it was dropped off a high ladder. Tavious said it took some trial and error.

“At first, I was trying to build a parachute, but that didn’t work,” he explained. “So, then I decided to add balloons. The balloons helped add some cushion, and it landed safely.”

He added that the experience helped him build creativity and “work smarter, not harder.”

His mom loved the opportunity to see what he and his classmates have been working on.

“It’s my favorite part of the evening,” she said. “I like to come in and check out their classrooms and see what they get to do. They tell me all about it, but it’s nice to see it.”

Independence students also got to expand their knowledge about careers in STEAM fields in the Career Studio that was set up in the gym. More than a dozen parents were on hand to talk about their careers, which ranged from fashion designer to firefighter to FEMA engineer. Eric Meredith, who works for Lawrence Construction, brought in some of the items the company uses when they’re building highway bridges.

Independence STEAM Night“I brought some steel pilings, a small hollow-core auger, some drill teeth, a hard hat, safety devices, and some of my tools,” he said, as students tried on the hard hat and marveled at the auger, which was nearly four feet long.

Engagement is one of the Cherry Creek School District’s Core Values, and it was evident everywhere during STEAM Night, as students, parents, and staff laughed and learned together.

“The engagement piece is huge tonight,” Tobin said. “We’re creating community here at Independence.”

Posted 2/14/2023.