Westridge Middle School Hosts 11th Annual STEAM Night

Westridge Middle School Hosts 11th Annual STEAM Night
Shawnee Mission School District

The 11th annual Westridge STEAM Night welcomed dozens of Shawnee Mission School District families to explore the vast reach of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The event has continued to grow each year, with this year’s exhibition hosting 13 different exploration stations for community members to participate in hands-on, interactive activities. 

Westridge science teacher, Kate Brewster, developed the first STEAM night as a part of a masters degree project that aimed to include the whole school and linked to educational standards. 

“At that time, my fellow science teachers and my fellow math teachers, and I were frustrated with parents who would come to Back to School night and say, ‘Oh, he doesn't like science,’ or ‘She doesn't do science. She doesn't do math. She doesn't like it.’ So, we thought, we've got to figure out a way to show them that not only can math and science be fun, but it's necessary for life.”

From exploring the anatomy of eyeballs, to flying drones, holding snakes, touching meteorites, driving robots, creating chemical reactions, and using physics to make art, the evening was filled with learning the fun side of science. 

“We just dissected eyeballs, which was extremely fun,” said Eman Raza, a Westridge 7th grader. “We actually [...] saw like the inner cords and everything. It just was really amusing to see how eyeballs work.”

Raza admitted she was a little grossed out when she started dissecting the pupil, but it was still the activity she was most excited about. 

Anne Gillette attended with her grandkids who were eager to explore the robotics table. “I think this event is great,” said Gillette. “I'm in the construction industry. So, I work with architects and people in the high tech STEAM arena. I'm glad that the kids get exposure like this. I think it's super important for them to understand the options available to them.”

As the evening drew to a close, STEAM night had once again accomplished its mission—to demystify the sciences, ignite curiosity, and remind attendees learning is at its most rewarding when it's also a whole lot of fun.