Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in West Oakland is taking its science and math lessons up a notch this year — and to do it, Principal Roma Groves told me, the faculty is enlisting parents’ help.
This evening, the school held its first Family Science Night to let parents know about the school’s new STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) focus. Teachers led demonstrations while parents helped out or took it all in.
I didn’t make it to all the classrooms, but I observed a geology lesson and watched the liquid substances kids dropped into a plastic baggie turn into goo. And I tried some butter another group of kids made (pretty good!).
Jasella Jones said she doesn’t remember getting any science when she attended another West Oakland elementary school, years ago. Now, she said, her 8-year-old daughter Amunique Usher comes home from school and teaches her — and her younger siblings — what she’s learned.
“She always has important questions that I can’t answer about the moon and the stars and the sun,” Jones said. “Just imagine what the future holds, not only for her, but for her kids and her grandkids and everyone else.”
Michele Williams’ first-graders took home their ziploc bags of neon-colored slime — but only after solemnly swearing to take care of it and not eat it, or smear it on other children, or use it “as a rocket.” (I hear that was a recent addition, and not entirely hypothetical.)
What do your schools do to promote science and to involve families in the process?