More than 100 children and families recently came together at the Gardner Pilot Academy for the first-ever Family Science Night. Co-sponsored by Harvard University, the event brought students from kindergarten through seventh grade and their parents together to explore the endless possibilities of science.
Families gathered to listen to Heather Olins, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Girguis Lab at Harvard. Having just returned from a research verification cruise aboard the ALVIN submarine, Olins engaged the crowd with her firsthand accounts of what life is like on the ocean floor. She also provided the children with tips on how they can pursue science.
“If there is something, anything, that you are really curious about, keep asking questions and looking for answers until there don’t seem to be any out there. That’s pretty much what it means to be a scientist,” Olins said.
The night continued with a range of interactive activities throughout the school. In a kindergarten classroom, children and parents worked to construct more than 25 towers made of raw spaghetti and marshmallows. In a second grade classroom, students were charged with building race car models and testing their distance. Additionally, a number of middle school students analyzed human cheek cells as well as their own hair under microscopes.
“It was great to celebrate science and see so many students with their families so engaged and enthusiastic. We hope this becomes an annual event,” said Barbara Gates, science specialist K-2 for the Gardner Pilot Academy in Boston.