Empire families enjoy STEM night

9-year-old Sequoia Skenandore shows her project  'How to Sink a Marshmallow' at Empire Elementary's STEM Night Thursday.

9-year-old Sequoia Skenandore shows her project 'How to Sink a Marshmallow' at Empire Elementary's STEM Night Thursday.

What used to be a night of volcanic eruptions and Mentos-exploding soda has now become an opportunity for Empire Elementary students and families to explore the STEM field through activities using science, technology, engineering and math at Empire’s STEM night.

“Empire’s STEM night was designed to introduce families and students to the STEM field in fun and exciting ways,” said Evelyn Allred, principal at Empire Elementary.

Upon arrival, Empire families enjoyed a pizza meal Thursday night. As they completed their meal, they moved on to a variety of STEM challenges all involving the theme of “The Watershed.” For the main event, students participated in an engineering challenge building “The Tallest Tower” that required families to work as a team using specific design rules and testing criteria to build a tower using just marshmallows, tape, straws and tape. The Martin family won the challenge constructing a tower measuring 102 centimeters tall.

“Everyone was smiling, engaged and really excited by all the STEM challenges tonight,” Allred said.

Outside the cafeteria, Empire students’ science fair projects were proudly displayed. Fifth grade student Nicholas Jaramillo won a first place ribbon in the science fair for his project, “The Egg Drop.”

“Dropping the egg was the most fun,” said Nicholas after winning his first-place ribbon. “I learned that you have to brainstorm and you have to be creative.”

“This is our first time using Sierra Nevada Journeys to deliver a full-blown STEM event,” said Allred, “and it was really well-received.”

More than 100 Empire Elementary students and families enjoyed a variety of hands-on projects and challenges, designed to introduce and encourage interest in the STEM field at an early age. Sierra Nevada Journeys, a nonprofit organization, presented the science-based educational program with the goal of promoting critical thinking skills through hands-on learning opportunities.

“We think science is a great lesson to teach all curriculum since it’s so engaging,” said Sean Hill, education director for Sierra Nevada Journeys.

The event was sponsored by Empire Elementary and underwritten by the Carson Water Subconservancy District.


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