Courtesy Linda Johnson
West Shore will be hosting its second STEM Night on Tuesday from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 p.m in the auditorium. The event is organized by the PTA and middle-school science teacher Linda Johnson.
Many local companies will be hosting stations at the event. Students and Families will be able to try out a Rockwell Collins flight simulator, practice coding with Codecraft works, test water samples from the Indian River Lagoon with the Marine Resource Council, try out STEM toys from Barnes and Noble and use Northrop Grumman’s wind tunnel as well as many other activities.
Johnson came up with the idea for STEM Night last year.
“In 2017, I got picked to be a Northrop Grumman STEM teacher along with about 25 teachers around the country where there are Northrop Grumman facilities,” Johnson said. “They picked middle-school teachers because the research is showing that kids make career decisions younger than they thought they would.”
Johnson’s main focus is to get students to see and understand career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Our agreement with Northrop Grumman was to make sure that our students get this kind of exposure,” Johnson said. “Other states in the country have different standards now. There are new science standards that include engineering. Florida did not adopt these new standards, and my job is to teach the standards.” Johnson said.
As a middle-school teacher, Johnson’s primary job is to teach the topics that will be on the statewide eighth-grade science test.
“Most of the time our classroom curriculum does not even begin to engage students with science or STEM,” she said.
Eighth-grader Anylah R. said she’s looking forward to the event.
“I would be interested in going because I think STEM is really cool, and I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” she said.
Having a night like this can show students new and interesting technologies.
“We have a bunch of different people who are coming for the STEM Night,” Johnson said. “Part of the deal with Northrop Grumman was that they will send their employee resource groups and they will come and help out with the event. ”
Some of the activities are designed for students and parents to work together.
“I think it will be a really fun experience for kids and their families because of all the cool activities that they can do,” Anylah said. “It may also give the kids a chance to become interested in STEM and give them a better understanding of how STEM can be useful and fun.”
Johnson sees the event as a way to share her love for learning.
“Mostly STEM Night is a time to try some different things,” she said. “We are having a flight simulator and also a driving simulator.” Johnson said. “I’m not a robotics expert, but I know enough now that even if I’m not the expert, I can send kids to people that are.”
By Olivia Blackwell
Editor’s Note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last name on district-sponsored websites.