DelranSTEM Goes to Space!
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
On December 7, 2021, Delran families blasted off into space for some out-of-this-world activities. More than 50 students attended with their families and rotated through 5 different stations, run by Delran staff members and our high school student STEMbassadors.
Dining in Space: PB&J Sandwiches
At this station, families first made a list of the materials needed and steps to follow to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Next, Fab Lab Manager Mr. Shaun DeLoche showed a video of astronauts making the sandwich in space, and encouraged a discussion about the differences caused by the zero gravity environment. DHS Junior and STEMbassador Jason Croly said, "Helping out with the young students was a great experience. You could tell that the kids enjoyed talking about STEM, and about the differences between making a sandwich on Earth and making a sandwich in space."
Designing a Lunar Lander
Fab Lab Manager Mr. Paul Maraldo challenged families to design a "lunar lander" from everyday materials, that could protect their mini astronaut on a drop from the woodshop balcony. After working to design and build their landers, STEMbassadors dropped them, with the mini astronaut inside, from the balcony of the woodshop, to see how well the lander protected the astronaut. Students Madi (3rd grade) and Sami (1st grade) Skvir said, "We loved making parachutes!" DHS junior and STEMbassador Gene Lazarraga shared, "Seeing the kids be all excited to test their lunar lander was very heartwarming."
A Green Screen Space Odyssey
DIS Media Specialist Mr. Jim Brown ran a green screen station where students and families learned about the chroma keying technology used in green screen photography.
STEMbassador and DHS junior Mahir Sanori shared, "I had a great time working with Mr. Brown at the green screen section to teach children about chroma keying. The kids loved playing around with different objects and had a blast recording their first video on a green screen."
In the pictures below, you can see the green screen technology at work, with the green backdrop replaced with the moon and Mars backgrounds on the computer screen in the photos.
Max Goes to the Moon: Storytime From Space
During our DelranSTEM Goes to Space event, Mrs. Mary Jo Hutchinson led families with a video of astronaut Mike Hopkins aboard the International Space Station reading the book Max Goes to the Moon. Storytime From Space is a program in which astronauts in space read story books and conduct experiments, filming themselves to share with children on earth. You can see videos of additional stories read aloud from space at their website. We raffled off copies of the book Max Goes to the Moon, and five lucky attendees went home with their very own copy!
Constellations and the StarLab
The StarLab is an inflatable, portable planetarium. It comes with various cartridges with different sky views. Ms. Erica DeMichele and Mr. Leigh Smith, a DHS science teacher, used the Northern Hemisphere night sky cartridge, which showed students and families the constellations visible in the night sky in our area. Understanding the patterns and movements of celestial bodies in relationship to our earth is an essential concept in the New Jersey Science standards. While waiting for a turn inside the StarLab, families worked on space coloring books, making their own constellations, and a Sky and Telescope website activity on the computer. STEMbassador and DHS senior Maddy Simpliciano shared, "The StarLab was such a cool experience for all ages. It was great to see everyone so enthusiastic to learn about stars. I had a good time talking to the kids about their interests in space and engaging with them in the constellation related activities!" Another DHS Senior and STEMbassador, Maggie Flynn, added, "The kids loved the StarLab, it was so fun to hear how excited they were about learning about all of the stars and constellations."
STEMbassadors & Family Reactions
Many of our high school STEMbassadors were on hand to help out at the various stations, and to serve as tour guides, leading families from station to station. Their help made the night run smoothly!
STEMbassador Corinne Langowski, a DHS junior, said, “The space night was such a fun event! It was great to see so many smiling faces throughout the night last night, and reconnect with so many young students with an in-person, hands-on and interactive event!" Another DHS junior, STEMbassador Elliot Silva, echoed these sentiments, "It was a real breath of fresh air to see so many families and children together after such a hard year from Covid."
DHS sophomore and STEMbassador Samantha Dix shared, "Throughout my experience helping last night I saw kids being active participants and wanting to learn more about stem and engineering."
Parent Leanne Grundel shared, "I wanted to reach out to thank you for yet another amazing evening at STEM night last night. The boys had so much fun and we loved how interactive this night was. It also was a great opportunity to showcase the amazing teachers and students in Delran -- these nights in particular make me extra Delran proud! Of course besides all that, the boys learned a lot about space, too!!"
Our next Family Engagement event will be in March, and our annual STEM Fair will return this May. We hope to see lots of families at our future events!