Successful Experiment: Local school’s Science Night brings community together

Gause Elementary event gets students, parents excited about science

As families headed into Gause Elementary for a hands-on Science Night, excited voices could be heard throughout the building.

Then came the dreaded question: “Mom, are they going to have Wi-Fi?”

Once inside, the young man in question became so immersed in the activities, he forgot all about the request for electronic entertainment.

Have you ever seen sound? How does light heat things up? Who will have the fastest rocket balloon?

Those were just a few of the questions posed to visitors as they toured various science stations throughout the school.

The evening ended with a family challenge that paired children and parents and asked the teams to show off their engineering skills and teamwork.

Science Night is funded by the school booster club. Gause Boosters member Rona Ager organizes the event, now in its third year. Before getting started, she asked fourth-grade teacher Brian Dryden for guidance on K-5 science curriculum,

“Our goal for the event is to provide opportunities that kiddos can participate in and hands-on activities led by staff, and to encourage more excitement and interest in the sciences by having fun,” Ager said. “We hope that with all the ‘questions’ the activities present, it gets them thinking and carries over to activities at home.”

This is exactly what happened to Heidi Keller and her kids.

“We actually liked the slime so much, we ended up making it at home,” Keller said. “I love being able to come and have multiple things the kids can do.”

Her fourth-grader, Ben, enjoys the slime most.

“I really like getting into it and trying all of the different stuff,” he said.

Third-grade teacher Heidi Kleser led the “science of sound” activity.

“I really enjoy how Science Night brings all of the families out,” Kleser said. “It gives them a chance to enjoy activities that are ready to go.

“For the kids, it helps them to develop a deeper understanding of the content we are trying to teach them.”

Ager’s favorite aspect of Science Night is seeing teachers and families interacting.

“It really brings our school community together and having examples of what may be ahead for students in middle school and high school is icing on the cake,” Ager said. “Right along with this, it is so great having local organizations share their excitement and knowledge with our families. Everybody wins.”

This year’s activities included paper airplanes, a ball drop, rocket balloons, Giant Jenga, Elements Battleship, science of sound, parts of plants, energy, erosion, magnets and slime.

Volunteers from Cascadia Tech Academy, the Fern Prairie Modelers club, Pearson Field Education Center, Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washougal High School Science Olympiad, Jemtegaard Middle School Robotics and the Gause Coding Club all supported this year’s Gause Elementary School science event.