HOW TO ORGANIZE SCHOOL-WIDE STEM FESTIVAL?
(A Handbook For School Administrators)
Why STEM Festival?
Harmony has a comprehensive approach to STEM education that is not limited to only STEM focused curriculum. In addition to curricular activities such as PBL projects, we also provide many extracurricular activities for our stakeholders to develop a college-bound STEM culture in our schools. STEM Festival is a signature event to stimulate the interest of our students, parents, and public in STEM. We also celebrate the success of our students on their STEM projects throughout the year. STEM festival is a reflection of our main beliefs on STEM education.
Some of Harmony’s beliefs are as follows;
STEM Advocacy: Harmony targets the entire student body for STEM education and embraces a school-wide STEM approach. STEM is not only for those who have an interest or skill to pursue STEM majors. The “Every Harmony student is a STEM advocate” approach allows students to, regardless of their ability and major interest, engage and experience success with STEM, increase their STEM awareness and become STEM advocates.
Share and Shine: We believe that students become actively engaged in STEM, share their work in collaborative and social settings, and shine through presentations, displays, and competitions. The Harmony STEM Share and Shine approach makes STEM engagement socially desirable for students.
Technology Integration : Harmony STEM employs technology integration to comply with the 21st century standards. Harmony STEM acknowledges the role of technology literacy in mastery of content knowledge, development of scientific inquiry and mathematical processes, and interdisciplinary projects. Students use technology as they conduct their research, communicate and collaborate with others, and present their final products, e.g. video clip, online student portfolio, etc.
STEM Compliance: Harmony complies with national or statewide standards put in place by STEM organizations. Harmony STEM has embraced the T-STEM benchmarks as a powerful framework in developing a school-wide STEM culture. Harmony values and acknowledges the leadership of Educate Texas in STEM Education in Texas.
- We strongly suggest that STEM Festival should be scheduled on the same day with Spring Open House date.
- If you have also middle school students in your campus, you may want to hold a campus-wide science fair to acknowledge students’ year-long projects . We strongly suggest that science fair event should be scheduled for another day. You may want to hold the award ceremony of science fair during the stem festival. Additionally, the selected middle school projects should be displayed in the STEM festival.
- Since the students have chromebooks now, they submit most of their work digitally and they also prepare digital presentation of their year-long project. You may want to have the students to present their work by using their chromebooks OR campus administrators may decide to require additional Trifold display for science fair and STEM festival.
Note: If you decide to use chromebooks in your science fair event, you may designate a judging room for science fair categories and grade levels. Student groups present their projects in front of judges with their chromebooks connected to to projectors.
TO DO LIST
i. Before STEM Festival
- Hold initial planning meeting with campus department chairs to brainstorm the activities can be done by each department and list of those activities.Please, see the list of suggested activities at here
- Hold a kick-off meeting for open house and STEM festival with all faculty members. Each faculty member should be informed to show up on that day and prepare their students for certain activities.
- Make sure that department chair follows up STEM festival/Open house agenda with teachers.
- Visit at least one meeting of each department to discuss their planned activities.
- Prepare a flyer for festival, post it to school webpage and facebook page( see the samples at here
- Prepare a program schedule for the activities and a plan of your school building that shows the location of activities and events. Visit here to see a sample floor plan. \
- Participation of parents and all students is critical. This organization is all about engaging students and parents in STEM. Send periodic invitations and reminders to parents by using various communications channels such as school reach e-mails, wednesday mail, website posts etc…
- Periodical announcements and reminders should be made to the students.
- Festival invitations can be sent to :
- Local VIPs
- T-STEM Coaches and T-STEM centers
- Neighbor public schools and their administrators
- Parents of 8th graders( prospective students and parents) enrolled in feeder harmony schools and neighbor public middle schools.
- Local Media
For inviting visitors, you may coordinate your PTO and parents . Also, meeting with cluster PR coordinator is highly recommended. Make sure that your cluster superintendent is involved.
- PTO can be coordinated for fundraising activities .
- You may reach out the local business to get sponsorship for the event.
- Remember that you will need a lot of chaperones and volunteers on festival day for various duties such as hallway duty, selling food in the cafeteria, Most teachers will be busy with students’ activities.You may want to work with PTO to recruit volunteers.
- Hold a final coordination meeting with all faculty members and volunteers a few days before the festival time.Make sure that all volunteers and staff get trained on their assigned duties.
- In the week of festival, you may want to kick-off classroom decoration contest. Contest theme is STEM. Cafeteria and hallway decorations can be made a day before the festival. Art teacher with a group students and teachers may coordinate the decoration activities.
- Teachers can organize STEM Festival practice days of their subjects in which the students present their projects in front of teachers/administrators/judges a few weeks before festival time. These STEM practice days can be held as STEM competitions.They will also help us to give feedback to the students and make the students ready for the STEM Festival. Here are some samples such as chemistry home-experiment contest , MATH practice day, Physics Showcase
- Exhibitors; Invite all parents and local companies from industry and STEM field to exhibit their products. Campus will supply booths for each exhibitors.
- Partnership:Communicate science museums, universities, STEM and other educational centers to participate in the festival as partners.
ii. STEM Festival Day
- Students will present 2-3 hours. Presentation time should not exceed 3 hours.There should be enough chaperones having the students stand in their places. Make sure that students don’t leave their stand to chat with their peers.
- Assigned teachers or a team of students should supply the presenters drinking water and some snacks.
- STEM teachers will grade students’ presentations and help to clean up after presentation.
- People who took roles to invite VIPs and local media should be welcoming the visitors on festival day. Additionally, high school students( preferably seniors or national honor society members) welcome all visitors and pass out program schedule and event maps in front of the building. One teacher should coordinate the students.
- A team of students and a teacher can be assigned for this duty.
- Technology teacher may train the students on how to take pictures and use camcorders. Remember that students will tend to take the pictures of their peers. We would like to see engaged people in STEM activities.
- Judging and Award Ceremony
- There is a specific rubric for students PBL Projects. Data can be collected online through Google Form.
- After 2 hours of judging, there will be award ceremony.
- Use google hangout ON AIR mode to broadcast the festival and share the link on website. Visit here for instructions.
- Festival T-shirts can be designed and ordered to sell.
iii. After the Festival
- Render a video presentation to post and share in your website and social media.
- Follow up with media.
- Send thank you letters to VIPs.
- Hold a meeting with staff and PTO to get feedbacks for improvement.