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Family Science Night Turns Up the Fun Factor

The New York Academy of Sciences and Children’s Aid Society engage children and parents in family-friendly science activities.

Published November 10, 2011

Family Science Night Turns Up the Fun Factor

NEW YORK, October 14, 2011-Last night, the New York Academy of Sciences Education Initiative presented its first Family Science Night at the Children's Aid Society's Frederick Douglass Center. With the format of an on-the-spot science fair, the family-centric event encouraged children and their parents to stop at a variety of tables, each dedicated to a specific activity.

The Academy currently partners with the Children's Aid Society in the Afterschool STEM Mentoring program in which the Center's middle school students learn robotics, math, and science from young scientist volunteers.

Meghan Groome, Academy director, K-12 Education and Science & the City, reflects on her own experience doing "wacky" science experiments with her Dad: "Those early memories inspired me to think of science as something that was fun, creative, and ultimately led me to proclaim that I wanted to be a scientist. I had this idea as we were working with our partners at the Children's Aid Society; why not bring the fun, hands-on science and math lessons that students' get to experience in our Afterschool Mentoring program to siblings and families of our middle school participants?"

That idea blossomed into Family Science Night, where the activities ranged from creating balloon rockets to participating in a paper airplane lab. While the activities were science-based (for example, the balloon rocket activity touched on the concepts of energy, propulsion and thrust, and pressure), they were firmly grounded in kid-approved formats, featuring things that fly, pop, and explode.

Many of the activities at Family Science Night were adapted from Bring Science Home, a web-based initiative from Scientific American that offers engaging science activities parents and kids can do together, published on a weekly basis. The activities and associated videos, fun facts, and explanations are geared for kids ages six to 12. The Academy is pleased to serve as an educational advisor for Bring Science Home.

"As a parent, my goal in creating Bring Science Home was simple," said Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina. "I wanted kids and adults to have fun exercising their curiosity and exploring science together with easy activities they can often do with common household items. After-school programs and schools can pull from Bring Science Home's growing database of activities to create their own events celebrating the fun of science, such as the New York Academy of Science's Family Science Night."

Groome can't imagine a better combination: families, young scientists, and thrilling hands-on activities that anyone can do at their kitchen table.

About Scientific American
Scientific American is at the heart of Nature Publishing Group's consumer media division, meeting the needs of the general public. Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S. and the leading authoritative publication for science in the general media. Together with and 14 local language editions around the world it reaches more than 5 million consumers and scientists. Other titles include Scientific American Mind and Spektrum der Wissenschaft in Germany. Scientific American won the 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the Finance, Technology and Lifestyle Magazines category.  For more information, please visit

About The Children's Aid Society
The Children's Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation's largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York's neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics, and camps. For more information, please visit

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at