Science Festivals

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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STEM + Families


Promote STEM Education and Host a Science Festival

The STEM + Families Science Festival program, sponsored by Bayer, aims to:

  • Empower PTAs with information on hosting hands-on science experiments that bring students and families together
  • Provide families with ready-to-go experiment and family guides
  • Help all kids experience and explore activities and careers in STEM

PTA’s vision is for all students to have the family and community support they need to access and pursue opportunities and careers in the STEM fields.

Bayer



Host a STEM + Families Science Festival Program

 

We encourage local PTAs to host a STEM + Families Science Festival Program to promote opportunities for families to participate in shared, hands-on science activities and to inspire kids and families to pursue careers in STEM! 

National PTA offers In-Person and At-Home program models to meet students and families where they are. Work with your school community and your administration to determine which program model is best for your PTA.

Programs Where You Are


Local PTAs are encouraged to select PTA Programs and program delivery models based on the unique needs of their school community.

Each program is flexible and offers free technical assistance leader-to-leader learning opportunities and “drag and drop” materials necessary for success.

In-Person

National PTA Programs In Person

Be sure to refer to current CDC guidance to host an In-Person model.

At-Home

National PTA Programs At Home

At-Home models are further divided into three delivery methods:

Real Time Icon

Self-Paced Icon

Tech-Free Icon



Science Festival experiments are divided into three main categories. Each experiment includes easy-to-follow steps that engage families and students and provide families with ready-to-go science resources.

Categories


  • Biology: Structure and Function
  • Materials Science: Energy and Matter
  • Chemistry Cause and Effect



STEM + Families Science Festival Program In-Person Toolkit

 

PTAs may elect to host In-Person Science Festival events to bring together students and families to participate in shared, hands-on science experiments and to promote career opportunities in STEM fields. This toolkit includes helpful how-to documents and sample templates that you can use to make planning an In-Person Science Festival easy. Potential hard costs: Experiment materials, inclusive promotional materials, refreshments, gift certificates.

This toolkit includes helpful how-to documents and sample templates you can use to make planning a STEM + Families Science Festival easy.

You can also download this Hosting a STEM + Families Science Festival From Start to Finish Guide, which includes the same information as the toolkit all in one PDF.

STEP 1: Plan Your Event 

Form a planning committee by inviting parents and teachers of STEM subjects to join. Recruit at least 10-15 volunteers to help during the Science Festival. Organize your tasks, create a budget and schedule deadlines. Reach out to local partners to gain donations and community volunteers.

General Planning

Choosing Experiments


In addition to the Experiment Guides provided for the volunteers to use at the experiment stations, we have also provided Family Guides with experiment instructions for adults and family members to use at the experiment stations.

In-Person Experiment Guides and Family Guides 

Experiments are divided into three main categories: Biology, Materials Science and Chemistry.

Biology: Structure and Function 

Are You an Acid or a Base? *Requires preparation prior to event*
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Busy as a Bee *Best suited for grades K-2*
Experiment Guide  | Family Guide

Catching a Bird *Best suited for grades K-2*
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

It’s All in the Taste Buds
Experiment Guide | Family Guide 

Journey Through the Bloodstream
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Nails for Breakfast *Requires preparation prior to event*
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Materials Science: Energy and Matter

Balloon Skewers
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Bubbling Lava Lamp (en español)
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Ice Cream Chemistry
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Sticky Icky Slime
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Strange Acting Goop
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Chemistry: Cause and Effect

Alka-Rockets (en español)
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Cool Colors
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Dancing Raisins
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

It's Chemical
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Martian Jelly
Experiment Guide | Family Guide

Getting Volunteers

Hosting events like this is also a great way to recruit new PTA members! Consider having recruitment flyers like this one at your event.

STEP 2: Promote Your Event
STEP 3: Host Your Event

Ensure that everything goes smoothly at your Science Festival! Offer take-aways to parents who attend to help them retain and build on what they learned.

STEP 4: Wrap Up

Be sure to thank your PTA, school staff, community partners and parent volunteers. Gather feedback, report your results to National PTA and use the findings to plan your next event. National PTA recommends offering an incentive for completing the survey (e.g. enter names into a drawing for a $50 gift card donated by a local merchant).



STEM + Families Science Festival Program At-Home Toolkit

 

PTAs may elect to host a virtual Science Festival at home. At-Home models are offered as three method types: Real-Time, Self-Paced or Tech-Free. Your PTA can offer one model, a combination of two models or even all of the models to your families. Choose what works for you—each model has strengths and limitations.

Potential hard costs: Experiment materials (if distributing to families), inclusive promotional materials, gift certificates, virtual platform.


Real-Time Program Model

This live virtual program builds conversation, community, and learning.
 

Self-Paced Program Model

The program happens at home, and families conduct the experiments on their own time and at their own pace.

Tech-Free Program Model

In this model, events happen without a device, videos or support technology. This option may be helpful for families with limited devices or for families experiencing virtual fatigue.







 


Learn More about Making Science Make Sense®

Making Science Make Sense® is Bayer’s STEM-education initiative focused on science literacy.

  • Bayer is dedicated to changing the way science is taught and learned both in and out of the classroom.
  • At Bayer, it's about making science more accessible and less intimidating—to kids and adults.
  • Through its Making Science Make Sense® initiative, Bayer has been working directly with schools, teachers and students to expand access to science education for over 20 years.
  • Bayer is a proud Founding Sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families

We encourage you to explore the Making Science Make Sense® website.

Make sure to check out the experiment cards and videos in the Science Library!

Making Science Make Sense

Science Studio by Bayer

Do you own an Amazon Echo Device (better known as Alexa)? Check out the Alexa Science Studio by Bayer that provides step-by-step instructions for the Making Science Make Sense® experiments.



 


Questions?

Email Programs@PTA.org or call (800) 307-4782.

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service. No endorsement of Bayer is implied.



Sponsors

Bayer
Founding & Presenting Sponsor

Mathnasium
Founding Sponsor

Huntington Ingalls Industries
Supporting Sponsor