Looking for guidance on setting up a family STEM night for your school or youth organization? Although KC STEM Alliance does not have enough staff to personally attend events, we can offer some ideas and resources to help you plan.
Plan as far ahead as possible, especially if you’d like to bring in outside organizations to present or share information. Local businesses and non-profits are a great way to introduce students and parents to STEM programs and career opportunities. Explore these options:
High school robotics teams. Many FIRST Robotics Teams in the KC metro area have extensive community outreach programs and may be able to bring a demonstration robot or another activity to your event. Start by checking with your own district. Likewise, teams from other FIRST programs like FIRST LEGO League may be willing to share their projects at your event.
University student associations. Many of these organizations include outreach activities. Start with your local university and go from there. For example, University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Computing & Engineering has chapters of 15 professional STEM organizations. See the list.
Local museums, gardens and nature and science centers. Some of these organizations may charge a fee to send staff to your location; others may send a volunteer or have activity ideas on their websites. Here’s a list to explore:
Choose a Theme
Selecting a theme gives you a way to tie together various activities and make the event memorable. It also offers a built-in way to change up the event in year two. You can have fun with this! We’ve seen great events organized around a super hero theme (What’s YOUR STEM power?) or broader topics like water, wind or architecture.
STEM nights often include five or six activity stations participants can rotate through. As you think about options, consider ideas that appeal to a wide age range, don’t take a lot of materials and that include some hands-on elements. Also consider addressing the spectrum of STEM interests: engineering design, science experiments, math activities, computer science/programming.
These sites will get you started:
These recaps of successful STEM events will help you brainstorm additional ideas for your event: