First Annual STEM Night a Success!

In conjunction with the Discover Tech engineering exhibit at the Valley Public Library, the Juneau STEM Coalition and JSD teachers hosted a STEM Night for K-5 Families.  The March 28th event was hugely successful: nearly 50 dedicated community members offered hands-on STEM experiences for about 400 kids and families.  Families explored a wide range of activities from designing (popsicle stick) catapults or paper towers to investigating acids and bases to analyzing compost under a microscope to figuring out math puzzles.  Special thanks to the engineers who engaged kids in engineering challenges: Andrew Wells, from AK DOT&PF, and Janice Simmons, from PDC Engineering. The main complaint was that there was not enough time for kids to explore as many activities as they wanted to.  We can’t “fix” that, but maybe the presenters would be willing to stretch a little longer….

STEM education specialists followed up on Thursday and Friday with discussions and demo lessons for district principals and teachers.  Next steps include helping teachers to understand and introduce engineering “habits of mind.” If anyone is interested in helping to organize STEM Night 2019, present an activity then, or get involved in other ways to bring more STEM experiences to more Juneau children, both in and outside of school, please check out the Juneau STEM Coalition website and/or email us at

Did you attend the event? Take a few minutes to fill out our survey!


Finally, a huge thank you to the sponsors whose funding made snacks, “STEM goodie bags,” and the specialists’ visits possible:  AELP, FOSS Scientific, and JEDC, and to Ken Wesson. Interested in learning more about the research Ken Wesson conducts? Here are some articles to get you started!

STEM branches out – Jobs of the future


STEM Night for K-5 Families: March 28th

Would you share an hour of your time helping kids explore an activity or experiment related to your area of expertise?


How can you make a bulb light with a few wires and a battery?

Which “boat” shape will hold the most weight in water?

How do simple engines work?

What happens when hot and cold water mix?

What does it feel like to hold a snake?

How does a marine mammal react to entanglement?

Why are halibut hooks designed that way?


Are you involved in science, technology, engineering, or hands on math in your field of work? Do you enjoy spending your free time tinkering, building, or exploring?


We’re looking for volunteers to lead or support hands-on activities at a community-wide STEM Night for K-5 Families hosted by the Juneau STEM Coalition and the Juneau Public Libraries in conjunction with the Discover Tech exhibit at the Valley Library (January 10, 2018-April 6, 2018). The event, sponsored by FOSS, will feature an opening and closing address on the neuroscience of learning by Ken Wesson.


     What: Activity leaders for the STEM Night for K-5 Families

     When: Wednesday, March 28, 5-7 pm (Activities will run from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM)

     Where: Thunder Mountain High School

     How: If you are interested in getting involved as a lead presenter, please complete this form:


If you are interested in supporting the event but would either like to support another activity or need some help coming up with an activity, please contact us at


Thank you and please spread the word. We are hoping to have 40-60 activities at the event!

Becca & Brenda,

Juneau STEM Coalition Co-Chairs