Boiling passions lead students to STEAM Night

Caitlyn+Wenzel%2C+eighth+grader+at+Middle+School+North%2C+makes+a+pop-up+card+with+her+mother+at+the+District+STEAM+Night.+The+pop-up+cards+were+just+one+of+many+activities+meant+to+get+kids+excited+about+STEAM.

Caitlyn Wenzel, eighth grader at Middle School North, makes a pop-up card with her mother at the District STEAM Night. The pop-up cards were just one of many activities meant to get kids excited about STEAM.

Brianne Saab, secretary

The first annual District 95 STEAM Night was a success with families from all over the district.

Families of students from fourth to eighth grade gathered at Middle School North to engage in many STEAM-related activities on May 8, including experiments for families to try and demonstrations from high school volunteers like the robotics team and community members.

“It was cool! The robot looks really complicated,” Emilio Burgos, fourth grader at Sarah Adams, said. “[I liked] doing all kinds of experiments, and the robots for the pre-register. [I want to do programming] because it uses a lot of your brain to do it.”

Another group of high school students, coming from computer science classes, encouraged kids to give programming a try and showed off apps they had built for their recent AP test.

“I want people to know that programming is fun and you can do so many fun things with it. There are many great tools for people who want to learn to code. Code.org is good for the basics,” Noah DeJong, senior computer science student, said. “I thought there would only be a few people, but there are a lot of people here and so many things to do. It’s showing kids, ‘this is what you can do in high school.’ I think STEAM Night is a great way to get this sort of exposure.”

Beyond just high school demonstrations, students could also take the lead with their families in an array of experiments.

“I like that they have activities that the kids can do,” Teagan Lichtenstein, fourth grader at May Whitney, said. “I liked doing the escape room! In the escape room, you’re not actually escaping from a room – you’re doing Breakout EDU. It’s where there are a bunch of locks on a box and you have to figure out different clues.”

The activities were all related to STEAM in some fashion, and often blended multiple disciplines. One activity, creating pop-up cards, combined engineering with art to showcase the A in STEAM.

“The A is for art, and a lot of art projects, especially in my curriculum, are mixed with science, math, and engineering,” Jacqueline Bevan, Middle School North art teacher, said. “In eighth grade, we make water fountains and you have to take into account all the functionalities when designing it. It’s just a natural fit.”

This activity, along with all the others and demonstrations, provided a way to bring the community together and show the great things happening in Lake Zurich.

“I thought it went very well,” Kevin Steibel, senior robotics club president, said. “I think it was a great opportunity for everyone in the community to see what the middle schools and high school are doing. It’s a great example of what kids could do in the future.”

One way the event showed kids their possible futures was by hosting two panels, one of community members who work in STEAM fields and the other of women in STEAM fields.

“I was invited to talk about Women in STEAM and my experience as a woman in a STEAM field, specifically neurobiology,” Dana Simmons, PhD candidate in neurobiology at UChicago, said. “I am really excited about sharing my path with students who are interested in STEAM and giving people an idea of what sorts of careers they can have. There are a lot of careers people haven’t heard of but might be interested in. A lot of people helped me get to where I am, so I want to help people too and give back a little bit.”