• Family Science Night

  • What is the Family Science Night?

    Family Science Nights or FSNs, are Academy run events that offer an opportunity for students to get excited about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) while spending quality time with their family. It’s important not only that students are involved with STEM, but also that their family is also present as a support system during their journey to becoming a future STEM enthusiast. By taking part in an evening event that features a rotating assortment of various hands on experiments youth and their family member experience STEM in meaningful ways that are fun.

    Who is involved?

    To "make it happen" the Academy mobilizes our own staff, AmeriCorps VISTAs, and volunteer scientists to converge at a site on a given time and date. Whenever possible we coordinate with other organizations to amplify our outreach. For example, through the support of Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach (CUNO), the MiNDS team at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival we are able to provide a wide range of activities for youth and families.

    When is Family Science Night?

    Whenever possible we coordinate a Family Science Night to build on, or enhance, an event the site already has planned.  This might be a school’s open house or parent teacher conference night.  Or it could also be a school dance or holiday celebration.  The point is to meet students and their parents where they are.

    Where is Family Science Night?

    FSNs take place at underserved schools throughout NYC.  Every year there are five FSN.  One in each borough!  The experiments are often held inside of the cafeteria or similar location that is capable of accommodating 100+ students and parents. This allows participants to freely travel between stations without the restrictions of a smaller classroom-like setting.

    What does the event look like?

    The Academy recruits volunteers to meetup at a school for two hours to implement hands-on experiments.  The experiments can be an activity the volunteer has designed, or one of our tried and true ways of getting youth excited about STEM.

    For example, last year the White House advocated for everyone to celebrate “Astronomy Night”.  So on a fall evening we assembled a crew of STEM enthusiasts to convene at an afterschool site on Staten Island.  There we played with spectrometers, made replica Mars rovers, and used tablets to look up at the sky to see what constellations were above.

    How do I get involved?

    If you live in the outer boroughs it can take a long time to venture to the Academy, but by coordinating five FSNs, one each borough, we aim to increase our outreach effort so that more people can learn from scientists in fun ways.  If you’re a STEM enthusiast, (i.e. have a passion for STEM) and would like to participate in a FSN, we encourage you to do so.  College students, engineers, and tech enthusiasts make great volunteers.  You can go to our mentor portal to sign up for the next one.  Alternatively, if you’re looking for fun experiments to do at home with your family, come and join us! If you have questions, please reach out to us at