As the sun was setting in downtown DC and families were making their way into Marian Koshland Science Museum, students gazed around in curiosity, wondering what this year’s trip would entail. On March 30th, over forty Hart and Kramer Middle School families joined Turning the Page for our annual Night at the Museum trip. Families began the evening by engaging with partners from The Nature Conservancy, IRIS Consortium, HSEMA, and NIH/NHGRI. Students learned about a wide range of career opportunities in STEM and engaged in activities led by partners. Some of the most popular activity stations included: Protect Your Selfie, Outbreak, and Glo-Germ.
While reflecting on her experience with scientists fro m NIH/NHGRI a Kramer student said, “I learned a lot about scientists and how they study. If I were a scientist, I would study disease prevention.” Families continued the evening by participating in Extreme Event, a game that gives participants a sense of what it is like to build coalitions, weigh trade-offs, and solve problems during a fast-paced disaster simulation. When the start of the simulation was announced, participants dove into their assigned roles, worked together to learn about the disaster, the neighborhoods, and people affected. Throughout the game participants negotiated resources and focused on making sure the neighborhood residents survived the disaster.
As the game wrapped up, several teachers shared their excitement about the trip and highlighted the benefits of creating learning experiences outside of the classroom for middle school students. “Some of the students’ parents weren’t able to make it, so I agreed to bring them. This is great!” said a Kramer teacher. At the end of the evening, families received books and resource folders that included information about STEM organizations, upcoming STEM events, STEM careers, museums, and online resources. 67% of parents that attended the trip shared that as a result of their experience they will encourage their child to explore career opportunities in science and math.