Kids Compete for STEM Fair Prizes at OETA’s Inaugural PBS KIDS SUMMERFEST
Over 3,000 people attended OETA’s first annual free PBS KIDS SUMMERFEST last month at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa. Targeting kids aged 4-8, the six-hour event consisted of 20 learning activity stations, physical activity, a STEM Fair and a day-long concert just for kids.
The activity stations consisted of hands-on, engaging activities that addressed Oklahoma Academic Standards (the current state-adopted curriculum) in reading, writing and STEM. There were also additional opportunities for children to engage in other curriculum areas such as art, music and physical education/health and wellness. The concert roster included local children's bands, a well-known local storyteller and Mighty Strong Kids, a group that gave a Tai Chi demonstration. After their onstage performances, all of the performers held small group sessions with attendees to provide additional instruction in their areas of expertise and to allow children to engage directly with the subject matter. In addition to Tai Chi, there were two obstacle courses to encourage children to engage in physical activity. OETA also had a parade of PBS KIDS characters including the full SUPER WHY! cast and WordGirl. Every child in attendance received a free book, backpack, lunch and other prizes.
Inside, the STEM Fair ran concurrently with the festivities outside. Attendees were encouraged to pre-register for the STEM Fair for station planning and list building purposes. Contestants worked in Parent/Child teams of two people. They were given one and a half hours to complete their chosen project and write a project report that outlined what they knew before about the concept addressed by their project, what they did, and what they learned. The project reports were also to be illustrated. Contestants were judged in three areas: (1) project completion, (2) teamwork and (3) concept knowledge/learning. Winners were chosen for each grade level (pre-k through 3rd). Winners received a trophy and a prize package with tools for the parent and child to continue working on STEM learning at home. All contestants received a participation certificate and the full set of activity instructions to work on at home.
After the event, many families posted photos and comments on the station’s Facebook page, extending the engagement beyond the event.