By Francesca Vidal
JuSTEMagine’s mission is to spread STEM and SEL education to kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. On June 22nd, JuSTEMagine hosted its first STEM Night. This revolutionary event allowed students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in different activities related to the solar system. In the past, JuSTEMagine has hosted various Girls in STEAM events. Even though JuSTEMagine’s first STEM Night was run very similarly to a Girls in STEAM Event, the difference is that while Girls in STEAM Events are only meant for girls in K-8, STEM Nights give both boys and girls the ability to explore STEM topics and participate in hands-on activities.
“In the past, JuSTEMagine has gotten many requests to host events for both boys and girls. While our Girls in STEM Events will always be a key part of JuSTEMagine—as closing the gender gap in STEM is very important to me—hosting events for a wider audience allows for more people to discover their passion for STEM. These events mean so much to me because I am inspired by the students who attend, as they are taking charge outside of the classroom and learning about various topics that they may not know much about, but leave our events knowing a lot!”
-Claire Cenovic, President of JuSTEMagine
Victoria King, Director of Outreach and Expansion, and Serena Zezulak, Girls in STEAM and Event Coordinator, worked extensively to plan this event.
“The first STEM Night was inspired by this leadership forum I went to at Emory University the summer of my 8th grade year. We programmed tiny vex robots using this Mission To Mars book. The book definitely inspired me, but Claire also wanted a broader topic, so we included the whole solar system. That's how we came up with the Out of This World STEM Night idea.”
-Victoria King, Director of Outreach and Expansion
The one hour event started off by asking students what is their favorite aspect of STEAM and why. After that, participants watched a quick video about the solar system. Participants learned about the characteristics of each planet and also fun facts about objects in space like asteroid belts.
Next, participants were asked to design a habitat where astronauts could live while on Mars. Each participant was required to include one item from a specific list and then encouraged to come up with their own ideas. After that, participants were given a scenario where an astronaut got lost on the moon and needed immediate help. Their goal was to design a rover that could locate and safely bring the astronaut back to the base. Again, participants were required to include only one item from a specific list and then brainstorm ideas. Among the most popular items placed on the rovers were first aid kits, flash lights, antennas, and faster wheels. The event ended with participants being introduced to a SMART Goal.
A SMART Goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time–based. Participants were given time to come up with their goal for either the summer or the upcoming school year and share it with everyone.
In the end, not only was JuSTEMagine’s STEM Night a success, but it was also a fun opportunity for kids to learn more about STEM and SEL. JuSTEMagine is excited to start planning the next STEM Night, with a hope to inspire kids into STEM related fields.