HOSA to host community STEM night

Event created to spark interest for grades K-8, inspire career paths


Jasmin Kim

At the Boeing demonstration, students and the advisor of the station set up their water bottle rocket station. This purpose was to demonstrate how a force of pressure can send something into the air. The last STEM night was Nov. 9, 2018, and this year’s STEM night, sponsored by HOSA, will be on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Main Gym at Lafayette.

Morgan Vehige

“STEM night is a chance to expose younger students to science. Especially with COVID, I think students, especially in middle and elementary school, have missed out on the hands-on demonstrations and the active engagement that make science so fascinating,” senior Ethan Xu said.

For the first time in two years, the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) club is hosting a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) night for students in grades K-8.

The event, taking place at 6 p.m. in the Main Gym on Jan. 13, will be comprised of 20 stations with various scientific experiments and projects tailored towards the kids. Some stations include making slime, a magnet maze, pH drawings and more.

Xu is the president of HOSA and he believes this event can be a start for a lot of kids to grow a love for STEM.

“This event is important to me because it was STEM nights like this one that sparked my love for science. Seeing demonstrations in person and doing them hands-on is so much cooler than just watching them online,” Xu said.

For junior Riya Parikh, HOSA Outreach and Service Coordinator, STEM night is important because it instills an interest in STEM from possible role models to the younger generation. Each station will be supervised by volunteers from high school, and it gives each kid an opportunity to speak with someone who is possibly going into a STEM related field after high school.

“I feel like a big part about HOSA is putting students our age into healthcare professions so I think it’s really interesting for high school students to put an interest in STEM into younger kids. It’s to help them realize STEM is more than just the things you did in class,” Parikh said. “Especially when you’re going into high school, it’s important to have an idea of what you want to do. Just through being curious about it and starting to get more exposure, it helps grow that idea of being in a STEM field.”

HOSA members got together and planned possible ideas for the stations in previous meetings for the event. After brainstorming, Xu connected with Lafayette science teachers to ask if he would be able to borrow or recreate some of the demonstrations they had used in classes before.

“I’ve talked to almost all of my previous science teachers to ask if it would be possible to borrow science demonstrations they’ve used in the past. Most of the demonstrations actually come directly from our science department so I [have] to thank our science teachers for letting us borrow them for this event. We’ve met up on weekends and over break on zoom to plan and organize the event, and met before school to plan the layout and organize supplies,” Xu said.

STEM night will not only feature the stations from Lafayette students, but HOSA has partnered with some outside organizations as well. HOSA’s volunteer partner for the year, Be the Match, will have an informational booth that details how the non-profit spreads awareness about marrow or blood stem cell donations and becoming an organ donor, and how they help connect patients with donors.

Another group at the STEM night will be the Bricks 4 Kids, an organization based in Wildwood that uses Legos to inspire an interest in architecture and engineering.

At the event, there will be a “passport” for each child. For each station that the child goes to, they’ll get something written or stamped on their passport. The first 75 kids who complete 12 stations will receive a Bristle Box, a robot kit for home.

Parikh thinks incentives like the Bristle Box will help make the event will a success for the younger generation.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the kids who get the Bristle Box. We’ll also have Bricks 4 Kids, and we know slime is going to be a popular one. I’m just excited to see how all the kids react to all of it,” she said.

Both Parikh and Xu describe the event as one for not only the younger generations, but for the Lafayette community as a whole. They’re each excited to assist at the stations, and are glad to be given the opportunity to celebrate STEM at Lafayette and teach anyone.

“Even for high schoolers, there’s bound to be a demo or lab [they’ve] never tried before,” Xu said. “The event is important to HOSA because this is one way we give back to the community. It’s not just for the students, but also gives our members experience with presenting, sharing, and ultimately teaching others. It’s a chance for us to share and nurture a love for science for future high schoolers.”