Friday, October 4, 2019 marked the second annual Family Maker Challenge held at J.P. Case Middle School in the Flemington Raritan Regional School District. The theme for the evening was based on a “Survivor” challenge to escape the island! Families were tasked with completing three timed challenges:
1) Create a vessel/container out of the specified materials that allows water to be transported over a particular distance.
2) Build a signal using sound and/or visual signal to transport an SOS message
3) Move an entire team from one side of the gym to the other (to officially escape the island) without touching the gym floor using various materials.
Before each of the building challenges, there was a trivia round. During this, the students led their families in answering questions with a scientific/engineering theme connected to each actual building challenge. By answering questions correctly, families earned Maker Bucks which were subsequently used to “purchase” materials (cardboard, tape, glue, etc.) to create their various challenge objects.
In preparation for the event, students took an active approach in developing the questions and answers. Some went as far as creating short video clips (as seen below) to provide information and the trivia question, utilizing the assistance of the school Technology Integration Specialist, green screen equipment, and WeVideo software.
One of the parents involved in the evening commented on how engaging, motivating, and family-friendly the experience was. She noted that it was “perception-shattering” for her daughter to engage in a STEM event that was fun and interesting. She indicated that her daughter is extremely excited and already looking forward to the next STEM event!
The majority of parents surveyed after the event indicated that they learned something new about scientific or engineering principles throughout the course of the evening. In addition, they enjoyed their time together as a family unit.
For more about the HSMC STEM Ecosystem:
NJSPN HSMC STEM Ecosystem homepage
HSMC STEM Ecosystem homepage