Olive B. Loss Elementary hosts fun and educational demonstrations in science, technology, engineering and math

Young scientists were at work at Olive B. Loss Elementary School Nov. 30.

It was STEM Launch Night, a preview for the fourth and fifth graders who want to participate in the district’s fair for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

But it’s more than that. The program’s purpose is also to encourage students to think about about a career in one of those fields.

The evening program featured a journey through several different “exploration stations” where parents guided their students through fun and hands-on activities which are focused in the fields of STEM, said Lilian Miles, spokeswoman for the Appoquinimink School District.

“Our goal for families is to discover, create, and inspire while moving freely through challenges that build excitement for STEM learning and careers,” Miles said.

Engineering students from the University of Delaware’s Deep Roots Outreach Program manned the engineering station with a creative task for the students.

They instructed the fourth and fifth graders to make lava lamps from scratch. The kids put water, food coloring, oil and Alka-Seltzer into a large test tube. And the lava lamp became reality with colored bubbles coming from the bottom.

At the science station, Melissa Rendon, third grade teacher, instructed the students to conduct experiments on the best lining for a lunch box. They dropped water on plain paper, wax paper and aluminum foil and recorded their observations. The aluminum foil seemed the best.

Another station about math was just as creative. The students on paper had to make a connection from math to animation.

Amy Jones brought her daughter, Cate, a fourth grader, to the event.

“I love everything they do here at Olive B. Loss,” said Jones. She said her daughter is very curious about everything and the program makes it fun for her.

Besides learning about STEM through the stations, guest author Dr. Doug Purnell, a chemistry professor, read his book, “The Little Scientist,” to inspire the students.

There also were two contests with prizes at STEM Night. For one, the students had to complete experiment forms to win an Edison robot. Luke Burtell, a fourth grader won the robot. In another contest, students had to complete “activity passports” to win the book, “The Little Scientist.” Five students in fourth and fifth grades each won a book.

The school district has been sponsoring a STEM Fair for the past six years.

Olive B. Loss Elementary began by hosting an after-school STEM Fair display in 2013, but it evolved into having a STEM Launch Night and STEM Family Night in 2015.

The STEM Family Night, hosted in March, is for the entire school to participate in activities, as well as view the projects students have completed.

“We continue to have a large gathering of families and are proud that we are able to display our student’s love for STEM as well as our partnership with University of Delaware’s Deep Roots Outreach Program,” said Danielle Rash, third grade teacher at Olive B. Loss Elementary.