Calera Elementary hosts STEM Night

CALERA – Calera Elementary School hosted its second annual STEM Night on Thursday, March 9. Parents, students, grandparents and siblings gathered in the school cafeteria to take part in fun experiments conducted by Calera High School students.

Denise Taylor, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Lab facilitator, said more than 500 students attended the event with their families.

“Some of the high school students volunteered to do demonstrations with the younger kids and I am just so excited to be partnering with the high school,” Taylor said. “I hope we can continue that relationship next year.”

The students learned about simple electrical circuits by using various LED lights to light up a robot. Other experiments included making root beer floats and having the children identify which states of matter were present in the beverage, making musical instruments out of popsicle sticks, making rockets and setting the trajectories and putting their finger prints on balloons, blowing them up and identifying what kind of finger print they have.

Taylor said Calera Elementary offers the only K-2 STEM program in Shelby County Schools. The program started in 2015 and was funded through grants.

Taylor said STEM programs are important because they help students develop an interest in STEM early on and students learn how to problem solve, work in a team setting and think critically.

“It’s important to start teaching those skills at an early age,” Taylor said. “By the time students hit the fourth grade they’ve already decided that STEM related subjects are either not for them or it’s too hard for them. STEM is a possibility for everyone’s child. Kids can do more than people think.”

Taylor said getting students interested in STEM related fields will also help the nation’s economy in the future.

“It’s the largest and fastest growing job sector and there’s a shortage of people who are qualified to fill those positions,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to produce students who can work together, build, collaborate, be innovative, creative and inventive. It’s the backbone of our economy.”