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University of Arizona, Tucson Electric Power and more will be at Wilson K-8’s “STEAM Night.”

Wilson K-8 School’s third-annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math night takes place next Wednesday, Jan. 22, with a new addition: art. 

This changes the night from “STEM” to “STEAM,” and allows for a more diverse range of guests and activities. The event is available for all Wilson students and their families, and indicates a growing trend of science- and science-meets-art-based learning at local schools. 

“Not everyone learns the same way, and I think having opportunities where they see different methods of learning – whether it’s hands-on or from a book – everyone can learn a little something from this,” said Kassi Sramek, chairperson for the STEAM night. 

The first STEM night housed 17 tables and saw 117 students and their families. This year, nearly nearly 30 local and national organizations are scheduled to host tables, and Sramek hopes to see more than 150 students and their families. 

Tabling and presenting organizations include Tucson Electric Power, University of Arizona Entomology, the National Weather Service, the Oro Valley Water Company, Women in Optics, Ben’s Bells, Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Astronomy Club and Ventana Medical Systems. 

New art presenters include the Toscana Studio & Gallery and Sonoran Glass School. In addition, several elementary and middle school teachers from Wilson will host science and art activities.  

This year’s theme is “Hands on, minds on,” with the presentations ranging from academic to home-centered. For instance, at the Golder Ranch Fire Department’s booth, students and families can practice using a fire extinguisher in emergencies. The night will also feature robots designed and built by local craftsmen. 

The STEAM night will also provide an opportunity for Wilson K-8 to feature the new Digital Makerspace in the library, provided thanks to the Amphi Foundation and a $10,000 sponsorship from Roche Diagnostics at their 2019 Gala. 

“Each year we try to keep some of the many groups coming back, but we also want to add more and try new ideas at the STEM night,” Sramek said. “We’re trying to make it very hands-on this year, that way students and their parents can really get involved with the learning.” 

Multiple schools in the Amphitheater Public School District and beyond are turning to a more STEM-centered curriculum. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are growing more than twice as fast as non-STEM occupations, with an average annual wage of more than $80,000. Despite this, growth trends indicate a coming labor shortage in STEM jobs in the U.S. According to The National Association of Manufacturing, the U.S. will have to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, more than one million of which may go unfilled due to lack of skilled candidates. This need provides all the more reason for education in STEM.

“It’s a great opportunity to show how much Wilson is expanding with technology,” Sramek said. 

The Wilson K-8 Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Night is free for all Wilson students and families, and takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22. 2330 W. Glover Road.

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