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Family Science Night at Wilton Manors Elementary was part fun, part future job training.

FIU teams up locally with schools in an effort to get students interested in pursuing STEM-related careers. School administrators funded FIU’s participation through a grant the school won for its environmental sustainability efforts – the P3 Eco-Challenge. This event featured hands-on science demonstrations about sonar, buoyancy, marine life, plankton, marine conservation and research, and other scientific principles.

“It’s everything. It’s technology, it’s living things, it’s sound experiments. We’re preparing them for jobs [in science and technology] we don’t even know exist. It’s very cool,” said Lori Goldsmith, the school’s magnet program coordinator.

“In general, it’s to garner excitement for STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] related fields and get kids excited in math and science where they have a tangible example of what that means,” said Nick Ogle, Education Outreach Program Manager for FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education.

Maria Schwartz, a first-grade teacher and the school’s science contact with FIU, said the students have put a lot of effort into making the school more environmentally-friendly. Exotic plants have been removed and replaced with native vegetation, the butterfly garden has been renovated, students participated in a campaign to promote the use of sustainable materials, learned about climate change and sustainability issues, and more. “A lot of the grant prize came from getting the kids involved in local sourcing for food,” said Schwartz.

Read the full article to learn more about this event.