Photos by Rome City Schools - Alivia Robbins, East Central student
East Central Elementary hosted their first PTO meeting this year and decided to make it memorable. Four stations around the school were designated for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities allowing students and their parents to get hands-on with learning.
Making a bouncing ball from corn starch, glue and borax was just the tip of the iceberg when seeing what was offered during this very special PTO gathering. Guests were given a map of the school and directions to where each activity was located around the building.
Kristin Teems, Principal for East Central, also added the bonus of a raffle and prizes were awarded to students who were issued a ticket with a special number printed on the stub. Teems coupled her directions to different activity locations over the school intercom system with a drawing for a prize.
“This is an awesome night at East Central. We started this PTO meeting off with discussing how we plan to grow as a school and offer more educational opportunities to our students,” she explained. “We introduced all of our executive officers who will serve our PTO this year and then it was time for fun. We worked with Robert Young from GYSTC (Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers) to come up with four activities we thought would be a fun representation of STEAM.”
Three classrooms and the library served as home bases for stations highlighting Sphero Balls that are controlled with tablets, a bridge construction activity, making a polymer ball from household ingredients, and creating an airplane from index cards and straws.
“We wanted to separate our students and visitors into small groups so that our teachers could teach everyone how the projects reflect STEAM concepts,” Teems explained. “We hoped that by combining a fun activity, an introduction to our PTO officers, education and prizes we could let our parents know how important they are to our mission. We want them to know that we thrive because of their involvement with our students and this was a great way to show them we are all an East Central Family.”
Teems went on to say that the parents at East Central volunteer countless hours to projects planned throughout the year. She wanted to express her gratitude for such a strong PTO presence in the school. Of course, nothing says thank you like a few great prizes, all highlighting the school.
“We have East Central t-shirts, car tags and stickers to give away. We also have tickets for parents to come and eat lunch with their child for free during the school day. We have CD players, water bottles and extra recess time available, too,” said Teems.
As the children moved from station to station, it became apparent that the adults were having just as much fun as the students. They tinkered and stirred, they programmed and tested theories, and they did so alongside their children with smiles wide enough to stretch the Oostanaula from bank to bank.
“We are very fortunate in Rome City Schools to be 1-to-1 with our technology availability. So, our students are carrying around a form of technology in all of our classrooms every day. Giving our parents an idea of what we are learning is wonderful and we always try to maximize the opportunities to learn about STEAM related projects,” Teems smiled. “We will host another STEAM night in the spring, so we encourage all of our parents to come out and be a part of this event. We always have a blast and coming together as a community is so important to educating our students.”