The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District recently hosted more than 1,000 students from kindergarten to eighth grade and community members for a fun-filled, informative evening of problem-solving activities that use Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math (STEAM). The district’s second annual STEAM Night is intended to provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about its STEAM curriculum by interacting with the technological resources available to students every day, such as a music studio and a virtual-learning laboratory.
“The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District is proud to offer this incredible resource to our entire community for the second consecutive year,” said Dr. Lorna Lewis, superintendent of schools. “STEAM Night is an opportunity for our district to introduce parents to the 21st century learning tools used by students every day, and above all, enjoy a fun night out. We thank the educators and community members for their efforts in making this event possible, and a success, for the second consecutive year.”
“STEAM is a mindset of thinking, it’s a change from traditional education in the way that students are designing plausible and feasible solutions to problems around them,” said STEAM teacher Rachel Lindsey. “There’s research to be done, criteria to consider and constraints in their paths. Our students are learning to persevere and overcome obstacles.”
Lindsey believes that STEAM is a big part of learning in the 21st century and that its innovation will have an impact on education moving forward.
“They’re learning to think critically, work better in groups to create and contribute to society, and learn more hands-on trade skills of STEAM careers,” said Lindsey. “Our youngest generation can code robots. Our older elementary students are working on electrical circuitry and making illuminated pieces of art. STEAM is about the process, not the product.”
STEAM Night was organized by the district’s STEAM committee, composed of administrators, teachers, students and parents. Throughout the evening, more than 150 district administrators, teachers and high school students were on-site to conduct an Exploratorium/STEAM Carnival, that included 60 stations throughout the school, designed to challenge the attendees’ creativity and critical-thinking skills.
“STEAM Night truly would not be possible if not for the dedication of our administration and staff,” continued Lewis. “From our teachers and principals, to the custodial staff and secretarial staff, their passion and ingenuity are the reasons we are able to provide these opportunities. After the success of last year’s event and the feedback received from our community, we were excited to provide this opportunity once again.”
Suzanne Gray, principal at Old Bethpage Elementary and one of the main people who set the event up, was thrilled that so many families came out to partake and is already getting set for next year.
“We are so lucky to be part of a community that values nights like this, where families work together to solve problems, design, build and create,” said Gray. “Children led their parents through experiences that required deep problem solving, thoughtful risks, persistence and collaboration. Families were laughing and learning alongside one another as they completed challenges, learned new technology and engaged in design thinking.”
Community partners from the local area also joined the evening’s festivities. The Plainview Water District was in attendance to share with attendees a model of Long Island’s aquifer, while explaining the water cycle to interested students and community members. In addition to educational information about the water supply, Water District Commissioners Marc Laykind, Amanda Field and Andrew Bader also provided two “hydration stations” at the event to ensure attendees had access to high-quality water throughout the event.
“The Plainview Water District was excited to participate in this incredible community event,” said Marc Laykind, chairman of the water district’s board of commissioners. “We are proud to support this event and for the opportunity to provide a hands-on experience for students to learn more about our water supply.”
For more information about the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District and upcoming events, visit the district’s website at www.pobschools.org.