A Night of Fun Learning Excites Large Crowd at FMA STEM Family Night

Lockheed Martin challenged students to code with Ozobots.

More than 400 elementary and middle school students, plus their parents came out for a night of STEM-based hands-on activities at the Fort Meade Alliance’s 8th Annual STEM Family night on Oct. 24. The event, held at the Dining Pavilion at Arundel Mills, is designed to get students excited about a future in science, technology, engineering and math.

FMA members, community organizations and area schools provided an array of activities for the students from coding, ozobots and virtual reality to chemical reactions, LED lights and rockets.

The demonstrations were by Anne Arundel County Public Library, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, BB&T, CCBC – Catonsville, Lockheed Martin, National Security Agency, National Electronics Museum, Northrop Grumman, She.Loves.STEM, Inc., STEM Core, University of Maryland Medical Center and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

“We have to get students engaged and excited about STEM at an early age,” said Penny Cantwell, FMA Education  and Workforce Development Chair. “Those young students who attended STEM Family Night are the future workforce and we have to do everything possible now to get them interested in these crucial careers. We are grateful we have the support of our members and the community in sharing this mission.”

Students programmed Northrop Grumman’s human robots to stack cups in a pattern.

The evening’s demonstrations included a wide variety of STEM-focused activities for the students:

• Anne Arundel County Public Library offered augmented reality Quiver 3D coloring sheets.
• Anne Arundel County Public Schools gave students the opportunity to play with robots, master coding, build catapults with popsicle    sticks and rubber bands and create flying rockets.
• Games at the BB&T table taught students about financial wellness.
• CCBC Catonsville wowed students with self-inflating balloons through a chemical reaction.
• Lockheed Martin challenged students to code with Ozobots.
• The National Security Agency provided games to solve logic puzzles and deduce mathematical strategies, while students encrypt and decrypt messages on an authentic World War II Enigma machine from the National Cryptologic Museum.
• The National Electronics Museum shocked visitors with the Van de Graaff generator and were able to operate a train using just copper wire and batteries.
•Students created algorithms to give Northrop Grumman’s human robots the correct commands to stack cups in a pattern.
•She.Loves.STEM, Inc. presented an aluminum boat challenge showing how two forces, gravity and buoyancy, react with one another. •Visitors to STEM Core were able to create their own LED flashlight.
•The University of Maryland Medical Center taught students about seat belt safety and distracted driving, as well as a system to monitor patients.
•The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. shared Baltimore projects through virtual reality goggles.

The Fort Meade Alliance created STEM Family Night in an effort to introduce elementary and middle school age students — and their parents — to STEM-inspired career paths and to further their understanding of how STEM-specific skills are used. STEM Family Night is held annually in the fall.

Click here to view the photos from the event.