The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Family Science Night

One of the many wonderful things about my school is the tradition of holding family nights four times a year. The first family night was Math Night, Reading Night, Arts Night, and, this evening, Science Night. I have been talking up Family Science Night for the past couple of weeks, have had a poster about it in the room, and there have been announcements about it each morning for the past few days.

Due to a new project we are doing in the fourth grade (more about this on Friday), we didn’t do any direct math instruction today. So I didn’t have any reason to send math homework with the students, and, besides, I really wanted as many as could to come to Science Night. I told them that this would be their homework assignment but, of course, if they had other obligations, that was okay.

I saw about a dozen or so of the fourth graders at the school this evening, along with all of the students from the other grades. There were a few stations set up that they could visit: the animal menagerie, featuring a variety of pets that two of the teachers brought in; a presentation by the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum on nanotechnology; a seed germinating and planting station where students could decorate a flower pot and plant a variety of seeds and also receive a clear resealable bag with a wet paper towel and seeds so they can see the process of germination; and a show put on by the University of Illinois Physics Van.

All of the stations were a hit, of course, but I think that the Physics Van got the best audience responses. After all, they had two girls from the U of I Physics Department showing kids how to make a hoverboard with a leaf blower, how to pull a tablecloth out from under a table setting, and how to blow stuff up with liquid nitrogen:


Family Science Night also included our last Scholastic Book Fair. In addition to being able to buy books for themselves and for their teachers (something that students of mine have done at least once at each book fair), teachers were able to buy several books using credits the school earned from previous book fairs. I was able to get a nice collection of new books, most of which were suggested by my students who were there this evening. The PTA also asked teachers to make suggestions for sets of books to get for their classrooms/grade level, which was really awesome.

All in all, we had a great time this evening. Oh, and my wife was able to come with me, so a few of my students have finally met her.


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