PIQUA — Fifth graders at Piqua Central Intermediate School got to show off their experimental expertise to family and friends alike during the school’s special event, “Family Science Night,” on Thursday.
“Family Science Night” began in the Piqua City School district ten years ago due to the efforts of fifth-grade science instructor Merrianne Thompson, who applied for and received the Martha Holden Jennings grant for $3,000. Funds from that grant allowed she and other staff members to conduct the science-themed event on a recurring basis.
“Family Science Night” was first held at PCIS during its inaugural year in 2015-16, and has made its return to the school after a two-year break.
“This year, we decided to bring the event back,” Thompson said. “It’s something each family can do on a cold night. They can come out, spend time together, and learn a little bit about science. Sometimes kids think something is magic when it’s really science, so the idea behind it is to get kids to appreciate the fun of exploring and asking questions.”
A total of ten stations allowed students to conduct various experiments with their families, including opportunities for each student to earn extra credit toward their regular schoolwork. Experiments included such subjects as acid-and-base testing, magnetism, marshmallow compression, and oil spill clean-ups.
The event also included an inflatable planetarium dome, LEGO robotic demonstrations, and a dress-up photo station. All materials were supplied by grant funding and Piqua City Schools.
“I have a three-year rotation,” Thompson said, of the experiment subjects. “Even if the kids come next year, it won’t be the same experiments.”
“Nights like this are rewarding for the students because they get more practice in a subject area, but it’s also rewarding for the parents to get to see their child involved in learning,” said PCIS instructor and volunteer Macarena Studebaker. ”It’s even rewarding for the teachers, because it opens up more opportunities to communicate with parents.
“Tonight I got to meet parents I’d never seen before, and it’s great to form relationships that way. You can watch the teamwork happen between the parent, the teacher, and the student, and it’s a lot of fun.”
According to Thompson, the staff at PCIS now hope to maintain “Family Science Night” as a regular event every school year.
“It’s too big and too important of an event not to keep it going,” Thompson said. “We have a lot of volunteers, and the staff here is all very supportive.”
For more information on school events, visit www.piqua.org.