My middle school is interested in hosting a science night and wonder if anyone has some ideas that aren't as involved as a full-on Science Fair.  The event might also be opened up to the elementary grades in our district. Thanks for any suggestions, Stephanie

Stephanie Ritter
Stephanie Ritter
90 Activity Points

Hi Stephanie, What a fun idea! I found a couple of articles in the Learning Center that may be helpful, let me know what you think. This article has a list of many ideas, so you may be able to only use a few of them to keep things easier: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/?id=10.2505/4/ss07_031_03_47 I also found an article about a Math and Science Night, with some activities included: http://common.nsta.org/resource/?id=10.2505/4/sc11_048_05_58 Will this be the first time hosting a science night for you? Does anyone else have any tips or insight? -Megan

Megan Doty
Megan Doty
11307 Activity Points

Stephanie, I think this is a really good idea for the middle school students and the elementary students who may get to be the guests. I am in college and my Science Methods class has done many science presentations and put on a sixth grade science day. The lessons that involve some sort of hands-on activity and a little competition seem to be the ones students have enjoyed and remember the most. I would also look into getting some of the high school students to help your middle schoolers, or even if you have a college near and can ask some of the preservice teachers to get involved. If you need any activities or lesson plan ideas, let me know!  Hope this helps, Adrienne

Adrienne Boettger
Adrienne Boettger
20 Activity Points

In the past, a colleague and I have hosted fantastic star parties. We found that when we put students' science projects on display (or even have students "man" their post to share about their project for a while), set out computers with Starry Night or pHET simulations, provide hot chocolate and a brief running science film, we get great turnout and participation from the community. If you need help, ask for parent volunteers to help watch the technical equipment, a local astronomy organization to run the telescopes, a group of high school students to point out constellations and have a fun night that students will remember for years to come!

Debbie Morgan
Debbie Morgan
894 Activity Points

Stephanie, While I don't have any ideas for you, I must say that I love the idea of opening up the event to elementary grades! I believe that (specifically students in 3rd-5th) would love the opportunity to be involved in a creative, hands-on opportunity, while being able to observe what the "older" students have created, and learn from them what they might not be able to learn from a teacher or fellow students in their grade! Haley

Haley Wiebenga
Haley Wiebenga
1353 Activity Points

I hadn't heard of a science night before! I think that that is such a fun idea! I think that you could have 2 or 3 demonstrations and then have a handout for the families to take home so that they could do them at home too. You could also include follow up information about the experiments. One activity that you could do is have a "contest" for who can create a boat that holds the most number of pennies. I am interested to hear what you do with the science night and how it goes!

Rachael Rice
Rachael Rice
3631 Activity Points

Hi Stephanie,

I am a student teacher and was recently placed at an elementary school and we had a family science night for the fourth and fifth grade. While these students were younger than middle school students, maybe you could use some of the things we did! Our family science night was centered around reflection and refraction of light. We had eight stations but one of the stations was a snack station with cookies and juice. The students and their families filtered through the different stations in a two hour period. At the beginning of the science night, the families received a packet that helped guide them through the stations. My station was a technology station where the students and their families watched an interactive video about the way light interacts with the eye. Then, I had the students and their families play kahoot to "test" their knowledge. Some of the students wanted to play against their parents, which was a fun aspect of the stations. The stations were interactive and different teachers ran each stations. I think this event helped us develop relationships with the families, too. I hope you might be able to use some of the ways we ran our science night. I know this post is from a few months ago, so if you have already had your science night I would love to hear how it went! If so, what suggestions might you have for our next family science night?

Kayla Herman

Kayla Herman
Kayla Herman
1575 Activity Points

Hey Stephanie! A science night sounds like a lot of fun! Megan has some pretty great ideas about how to keep people interested. Interactive activities are a great way to get people involved and wanting to learn more! You may also be able to find some short videos about certain topics, or some other kind of way to get people interested in the science in the area! Relating the activities to the area and the community may also help; most of the time, people like to learn about their environment, and a science night would be a perfect way to inform the general population about the area where they live and how science relates to it! I linked a few articles I found that have pretty awesome activities that can be modified for the science night! Hope this helps!

Victoria Krauss
Victoria Krauss
1605 Activity Points

I think a Science/Math night is an absolutely wonderful idea!!! I love that it gives the children control of their education while getting parents/guardians involved during or at the end of their learning process. I really like the articles that you linked Victoria. In my Science Methods class we are heavily focusing on DE's or Discrepant Events in which to get the students interested, it would be the hope that this would encourage them to go out and perform their own experiments at home to answer life's simple question of WHY? Why does this or that happen...etc?

Anna Maria DiFronzo
Anna DiFronzo
421 Activity Points

I've seen many formats at Family Nights. Many parents may be unsure how to encourage their children in science. In additions to demonstrations or presentations, you could provide parents with take-away activities that they can continue with their children at home--seeds to plant, discussion starters, observing things in your neighborhood or backyard. Small door prizes such as books, hand lenses, garden starter sets can also be motivating. It might be helpful to invite community resource such as science centers, extension agents, museums, etc. to share the opportunities that are available. Mary B.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
9570 Activity Points

I think that this is so accurate that there are so many times the parents/guardians would love to instill and encourage a love for science within their children but are unaware of how to do this without spending a lot of time finding ideas. I think that offering take-away activities as you suggested would be a great way for parents/guardians to continue on with science ideas at home.

Melanie McGill
Melanie McGill
3310 Activity Points

This is such a great idea. Family nights are great to encourage children and their families to share the love for science activities. It is hard to get families to continue doing activities with their children at home, so I like the idea of giving door prices like: books, seeds, and hand lenses.

Courtney Stuart
courtney stuart
4453 Activity Points

Hey there! The few science nights that I have been to hosted at a school either went with one focal point topic or had each category in stations/classrooms throughout the school. I have found that the most successful science night that I have been able to witness and participate in is one having to do with astronomy in particular. It seems as though its the best way to make sure that everyone has equal access to the resources, (the sky), every night so that you can talk weather patterns, moon phases, planets, constellations and so on, while being able to get a great outdoor meeting to look at the sky! Just in case this idea does not work, I will link a couple more with ideas from the Learning Center below: http://static.nsta.org/files/sc0507_30.pdf http://static.nsta.org/files/tst1604_37.pdf

Darcey Bodziony
Darcey Bodziony
945 Activity Points

I have never thought about astronomy having the most equal access, but now that you mention it - that is a great idea. Everyone has the ability to go outside and look up at the sky, and there are many topics that you can talk about in the astronomy content area. Great idea, I will have to use that sometime. This will make all students excited about learning!

Emily Heckroth
Emily Heckroth
3967 Activity Points

i would second the idea of using astronomy as a theme. Many students (and their parents) have never looked at the night sky through a telescope. Having one or more available could be a crowd-pleaser!

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
9570 Activity Points

The Article, Sciene Homework OverHaul, talks about how to engage families and how to give assignments that involve students and their families doing things like going outside or using real life experiences and connections. It is written by Michelle TrueWorthy!

Gabriella Sarno
Gabriella Sarno
460 Activity Points

Hello fellow science teacher,
 
I am replying you behalf of Funsciencedemos YouTube Channel that is home to hundreds of free videos for ideas for teachers and students to recreate in the classroom. Science is our passion and we are so excited to share our engaging, kid-teacher-parent friendly, and interactive lessons with you to use in the classroom or at home. Our videos adhere to the common core science standards, encompass a wide variety of science concepts, and are specifically geared toward younger learners. All videos on the FunScienceDemos channel come with an English subtitle that can be translated into almost any language, making science lessons accessible virtually any place in the world.  
 
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George Mehler
George Mehler
1340 Activity Points

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