Forestville Parent and PTA co-vice president of Curriculum Niu‐Niu Chen of Great Falls volunteers at the event to help children observe and calculate the energy costs of three different kinds of bulbs.
Forestville Elementary School held “Creative STEM” on Friday, Nov. 6. The event was a Renovation-themed Family Science Night. Forestville will start its scheduled renovation in early 2016. The Science Night was developed by Great Falls-based nonprofit iSchool for the Future, which offers programming that blends STEM, Art and 21st Century Life Skills.
Families worked together to learn about Forestville’s environment and answer questions. Twelve stations examined two themes: changes to the school’s sewer system and the expansion and storage needs of its library.
To understand why the school is switching from a septic tank to a sewer system, visitors learned about Forestville's soil texture and how it affects percolation. They felt sand, silt, and clay and watched the passage of water through differing mixtures of rocks and soil.
To understand the future expansion implications of Fairfax County’s decision to install a large 8-inch diameter pipe (rather than a 6-inch pipe), children used kinetic and raisins to calculate volume, surface area, and slope.
“It was so exciting to see the students of all grade levels engaged in solving real-world problems which must be solved in the construction process. I loved seeing the children weigh library books and come up with solutions for a temporary library location,” said Forestville librarian Margarent Bylund.
“I am not an educator, but I am always learning something new. From that experience I have found that learning is much more effective when all the senses are engaged and when the information is relevant to our present life. This is what this science night has done,” said Forestville PTA President Jennisse Silvestri.
iSchool for the Future offers Creative STEM enrichment programs in Great Falls, Reston, Falls Church and Alexandria. It works in collaboration with partners to develop programs that are place-based so as to engage students in learning that is relevant to their lives.
The Reston Home Depot was a major partner, donating materials and supplies and constructing specialized equipment for hands-on activities. MOM’s Organic Market also donated supplies used on multiple stations. Additional equipment was provided by Falls-Church based Markon Solutions and Dominion Electric.