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Family STEAM Day – April 1, 2017

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Commack School District's Fine Arts, Mathematics and Science Departments are teaming up to hold a Family STEAM Day for students in grades 3-6 on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Commack Middle School. This fun filled day will begin at 9 am and run through 12 noon. Family STEAM Day is not a drop-off event - all children must be accompanied by a parent.
The event will be a great opportunity for students and their families to learn about the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Mathematics through engaging hands-on, discovery-based activities. The goal is to provide a showcase for students to show them what STEAM is all about.

Some of your favorite teachers will be leading exciting workshops and the New York Hall of Science will have interactive stations in the gym! In total each child will have three 50 minute sessions. One will be to experience all the great displays and activities set up by the NY Hall of Science and the remaining two will be workshops that the student will select.

All workshops will run concurrently. Each child is asked to make three choices for each of the two sessions. We will attempt to provide each child with their first choices but please understand that each of the workshops have limited seating and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

Family STEAM Day Workshops

Balloon Creatures

Free your imagination and create an original balloon creature. Use your problem-solving skills and trial and error to teach your creature to walk rather than fly. Use your artistic abilities to decorate and show its personality. The possibilities are endless unlike your resources. Your resources are precious, so you will need to use them efficiently.

Toothpick Tower Constructions

Participants will learn that to build a solid structure, they need a good design, a solid base, the right amount of materials, and some basic engineering skills. All towers are built to support a certain load. First, participants will use 20 toothpicks and clay to build a free-standing structure as big as they can, that can still support weight. Weight will be added to test the strength of the designs, leading to understanding that certain shapes work better than others. Using this knowledge, students will build a new structure, as tall as possible that can withstand an “earthquake.”

Mysteries at the Beach!

Participants will proceed through four stations to discover and learn about the pebbles and sand on the north shore beaches of Long Island. The first station will have students observe the sand through a microscope to get a closer look at the different colors that make up the sand. Station two will help students to identify the different minerals present in the sand using a magnifying lens, a magnet, and larger samples to compare to. Station three will be about exploring and discovering how dry sand compares to wet sand. The fourth and final station will investigate why a footprint (handprint) in damp sand appears dry.

Calder Inspired Mobiles

Participants will gain awareness of American sculptor *Alexander Calder (1898-1976). Participants will create a simplified contour drawing of an animal/figure. Participants will transform their 2-dimensional image into a 3-dimensional form using colored craft wire, pipe cleaners and beads.

*Alexander Calder studied mechanical engineering in college.

Go Fly a Tetrahedral Kite!

This workshop will introduce participants to the basic scientific principles of flight. Participants will build a colorful tetrahedral kite that can be flown. Materials will include color tissue paper, string, glue, and straws. The basic processes of manufacturing will be discussed to ensure a successful project.

Crazy Cool Crystals

Have you ever wondered how crystals grow in nature, like when you crack open a rock? Or have you seen some cool crystals in a museum and wondered ‘How do they get all of those different colors?’ Did you know that you can EAT some crystals?! In this program, participants will observe different types of crystals and set-up their own crystal-growing experiments. We will also learn how to make some crystals that you can eat for dessert!

Adventures in Coding

Want to learn coding but unsure where to begin? This is the course for you! We will use the program SCRATCH to learn how to create fun, interactive stories, games and aminations. You will learn how to create amazing games, animated images and songs in just minutes with a simple “drag and drop” interface. No previous programming knowledge needed. Join us as you start your coding adventure!

Mystery Samples from Planet Earth!

Participants in this fun, hands-on workshop will turn into mini scientists and identify unknown mystery samples that have been collected from our planet Earth. Participants will use electronic scales, magnets, their senses, observations and inferences to make a hypothesis about what might be in their mystery container. After all, this is what real scientists do when learning about planets that are too far away or dinosaurs from the past. Join the fun and see if you can make a scientific guess as to what’s in your container!

Ouchless Origami

To understand solid geometry (3-D world), one must put their hands in motion. Understanding something intellectually and knowing the same thing tactilely are very different experiences. In this workshop, participants will build a math model through the use of unit/modular geometry. It is make and take. All you need to bring is patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor!

WHOOS’s in the Food Chain?

Have you ever wondered what role a top predator plays in an ecosystem? Let’s find out by looking at what an owl, a bird of prey, eats. After an owl consumes its prey, it spits up a ball of fur, bones, teeth and insect shells that is cannot digest. This is called an owl pellet. By dissecting this pellet, we will be able to determine what it had for dinner! Come and see what we find as we dissect the pellet, chart what we find and more!

Star Wars Science

This workshop is an interactive hands-on experience where students will have the opportunity to engage in activities that prompt them to explore parts of a favorite movie and determine what is factual and what is fiction. The students will travel to four stations to explore. The first station is the Planet of Tatoonine, here like Mars, there is not water, so students will explore moisture farming using salt and will create salt to take home. The second station involves Carbon-freezing, where students will combine vinegar and baking soda to learn how Han Solo was frozen. The third station is on the Planet of Mustafa, a molten lava world, where students will be engaged in making their own molten lava. As a closing station activity, students will learn about light sabers and if they are possible to make.

Introduction to Simple Machines-Building a Catapult

Participants will explore simple machines by building catapults. The catapults will be made from jumbo popsicles, rubber bands, and small cups. After building their catapults, the children will participate in a launching activity. The will use 2-3 objects of various masses and record the distance traveled when launched. After multiple trials, we will hold a discussion on how the force they applied and the object mass affected the launch distance.

Aquatic Puppeteering

What goes down must come up? The ups and downs of life in the water. Ever wonder how submarines dive and surface or ponder how fish can stay at one level without sinking? In this workshop you will learn how two opposing forces gravity and buoyancy control the movement of things in the water. Participants will design and build their own unique Cartesian diver to take home. These toys are educational, amusing and challenging. Eureka!

Contact Information
By Mail:  1 Scholar Lane Commack, NY 11725
By Phone:  (631) 912-2100
By Email:
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The Commack School District Mission Statement
Within the context of a caring community of learners, our primary mission is to provide an exemplary
learning experience that will allow each child to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
values to become a successful, contributing member within our school community and greater society.
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