Family Science & Engineering Night at Houghton Elementary School Tonight

Houghton Elementary School will be a hopping place tonight as kindergarten through fifth grade students and their families come together to have fun doing hands-on science and engineering activities presented by Michigan Tech students. The event will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Each child and adult at Houghton Family Science & Engineering Night can attend two 40-minute hands-on activities. The activities will address a variety of scientific concepts, ranging from which chewing gum is the best to observing characteristics of various rocks and minerals. Students will also be challenged to determine which clear liquid is water and to design a launcher.

“Family science nights provide an opportunity for children and parents to learn together in a relaxed and fun environment,” explains Shawn Oppliger, director of the Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education. “Parents play an essential role in the success of their children at school. Parents who encourage the daily use of science and math concepts and skills, greatly enhance their child’s ability to grasp these challenging subject areas. Children are more likely to have a positive attitude about math and science if their parents do.

“The home-school connection is very important in education,” adds Oppliger. “Family Science & Engineering nights promote that connection by bringing families together at school to learn in a fun and challenging way and reinforce classroom learning.”

“The Michigan Tech students are providing a valuable community service by sharing their enthusiasm and expertise in science and engineering, ” explains Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Tech. “A program of this magnitude would not be possible without the partnership of the Copper Country Intermediate School District and Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education.”

“Presenting at family science night is fun and exciting. It is completely different from anything I have done,” comments forestry major Mary Wachuta. “Kids remember stuff that’s fun, so if they have fun doing science, they’ll remember the lessons.”

Tonight’s program is funded in part by the Houghton-Portage Twp. Schools. The family night program is conducted by the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, in partnership with the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education. The Center will conduct 12 family science, engineering and forest nights during the 2015-16 school year.

From Tech Today, by Joan Chadde.