Community Fund Grant Supports Family STEM Nights from Sierra Nevada Journeys.

Funding will support approximately 1,500 children and their families in northern Nevada with 10 Family STEM Nights (FSN). Partnering together, Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) and Desert Research Institute (DRI) will provide Family STEM Nights for K-6 students, their parents and siblings to experience a fun evening with interactive stations that reinforce STEM concepts learned in the classroom. This partnership steps up the level of FSNs by giving students access to DRI faculty in addition to the SNJ educators.

Based at school sites, each Family STEM Night is an interactive, two-hour event that includes mini-challenges, family-based competitive projects, and dinner, appealing to the whole family to build comfort in
STEM subjects. Each event ranges in attendance from 100-200+ students, parents, siblings, etc. This exciting, family-friendly approach can be especially effective for students who have difficulties in a classroom setting.

Family STEM nights are designed to be fun, but also provide meaningful, purposeful learning and exploration. It is important for students to connect what they are doing to everyday experiences in their lives or community. When they are provided an opportunity to explore natural phenomena, deeper learning takes place. Students’ understanding of science is built upon their home culture, so involving families in science learning is essential. Families who participate are more likely to engage with their children about science and to become advocates for science education in the community.

Sierra Nevada Journey Family STEM night program goals are:
1. Foster interest in, understanding of STEM concepts for families.
2. Celebrate and inspire curiosity!
3. Provide opportunities for interactions between STEM professionals and families.
4. Engage a diverse population which reflects the diversity of Nevada.

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