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STEM Night Programmed for Success


Computer coding, robotics, chemical reactions and physics challenges were all part of STEM Night as elementary school families participated in activities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Families of pre-K-6th grade students gathered in the James H. Vernon School gym where Mad Science Long Island dazzled them with demonstrations on air pressure and fog-inducing chemical reactions using dry ice.  Families then moved into different classrooms to take part in two of four featured programs.


They explored the laws of physics by constructing model roller coasters using colorful tubing and straws, a challenge presented by the Long Island Children’s Museum. They used iPads or laptops to direct Dash and Dot robots to plow “snow,” LEGO race cars to race each other, and other LEGO robots to perform different tasks. They created slime with Mad Science Long Island while learning the science behind mixing together glue, water, coloring and sodium tetraborate (Borax) to create a flexible polymer. And enjoyed an “Hour of Code” in the computer lab engaging in game-based activities in Python and JavaScript programming languages through


“The goal of the evening is to bring to life STEM-related principals that are being taught in the classroom by engaging families in meaningful, hands-on learning experiences,” said Ms. Ostroff, Supervisor of Science and Instructional Technology who coordinates the event with the help of the district’s science and technology staff. “Many thanks to our teachers and students who helped make the evening a success.”


Staff members involved in the event included Oyster Bay High School computer science teacher Ms. Suprabha Malhar-Jain, science teaching assistant Ms. Maria Malzone, Vernon School science teacher Ms. Patricia Murray, Vernon School technology teacher Mr. Keith Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School science teacher Ms. Regina D’Orio. The Oyster Bay High School Science Honor Society, advised by science teacher Ms. Amy Hallock, assisted with all the activities.


Students and families, alike, expressed their excitement for the event.  


“This was our first time coming and it was great to see the students exposed to so many different STEM concepts,” said Mrs. Meaghan O’Brien who attended with her daughter, Shea, a 2nd grade student. “It was well organized and a great time.”


“The slime was fun and so was the coding,” added Ms. Lindsay Gorney, who attended with her daughter, Hannah, also in 2nd grade. “It was nice to see what the kids can do and what Ms. D’Orio is teaching them.”


“I liked coding the best because we learned new games and new styles to get the Grinch to do things,” said Shea, after playing a Grinch coding game.


“I liked coding the best too,” Hannah said. “I also liked making the slime… It was very messy,” she laughed.