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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2020:01:27 12:09:45

Fourth-grade students, from left, first row: Scott Weiland, Cole Gingerlowski and Deacon Jones. Second row: Nina Betts, Kaidence O’Donnell, Grace Moran and Margot Grad.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2020:01:30 09:59:49

Music students to perform this evening at STEAM night at South Abington Elementary School include, from left: Nina Betts, Morgan Summa, Cole Gingerlowski, Gavin Tinkleman, Scott Weiland, Matthew McDonnell, Kathleen Hoffman, Sean Beck, Liam Contreras and Aaden Robinson.

Two Abington Heights elementary schools are picking up STEAM.

South Abington Elementary School and Newton-Ransom Elementary School have both conducted STEAM nights within the last week. The South Abington school hosted its first STEAM night on Jan. 30 and will conduct a second one this evening. The Newton-Ransom school hosted its STEAM night on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“STEAM night is a hands-on, interactive event which engages families in activities related to science, technology, engineering, art and math,” said Lara Beth Lunger, the Comet Connect (computer science) teacher for the elementary schools. These are the first annual STEAM nights for each school.

She explained, “families will rotate through three stations throughout the night. One station they will work through the engineering design process to build a boat and test its capacity with pennies. The second station will be coding and robotics. At this station they will collaborate with their peers and family to program robots and code using applications on a tablet. The third station is a gallery walk. During this time, families will view student science projects, student artwork hung throughout the halls and gym and visit the High School Robotics Team to interact with their robotic creations.”

All South Abington Elementary School and Newton-Ransom Elementary School families have been invited to each night’s STEAM event. There is no cost.

Lunger said, “The night is more than just about coding some cool robots and building a boat, it’s really about allowing kids the opportunity to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative. Those are the learning skills that they are going to need to solve problems in life, regardless of the career path they choose. In Comet Connect class, I am able to challenge students to persevere through problems by utilizing those four C’s.”

She said the benefit of this event is that “the entire family gets to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative together.”

Becky Burdett, music teacher for the elementary schools, said her students will perform at the STEAM night this evening at South Abington Elementary School.

“In addition to learning some vocal repertoire, the fourth-grade students have been composing text and making musical decisions about their performance. Each class created text based on one of the 4 C’s,” she said. “Students will sing, use movement props and play hand drums during the program. I am excited for the students, as this gives them a chance to share what we do together in music class.”

Dr. Amy Thomas, principal of both South Abington and Newton-Ransom Elementary schools, said, “We are so excited to host our first ever STEAM nights that will allow our students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have gained in the areas of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. Our amazing teachers, especially Mrs. Lunger and Mrs. Burdett, have been working tirelessly in these areas, and we are eager to have our students teach their family members all they have been learning and showcase their efforts in Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics.”

Lunger said the district hopes to continue to continue its STEAM nights every year and in future years collaborate with some local STEAM related businesses.

Teri Lyon is a mom, grandmom and freelance writer who lives in Glenburn Township with her cat.