The learning continued into the evening at Meade Middle School on Wednesday, as hundreds of students and parents packed into classrooms for the school's first STEM night.
The night featured a wide range of guest speakers and activities, including a planetarium in the gymnasium, a 3D video of the universe in the library and and underwater robot in Room T5.
"This is huge, because it connects a lot of dots, and it's not just us, but our whole cluster," said Meade Middle School Principal Bill Goodman. "West County is booming, and this is the time to strike with match, science and technology. We're hoping this opens doors."
Goodman said the STEM night activities tied in well with the schools "ROADS" program, which emphasizes project-based learning.
Wednesday's sessions included a demonstration in Lego robotics from the First Lego League team from Pershing Hill Elementary School, as well as the Sea Perch underwater robotics team from Meade Middle.
Speakers from the NASA Goddard Flight Space Center helped guide exercises in building a satellite out of candy and using robots to service the Hubble telescope.
The evening also featured a conversation with Don Thomas, a former astronaut who now heads the Willard Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University.
"This is all about getting kids engaged and getting their hands dirty," said math department chair Pat Miller, who helped organize the event. "The response from tonight was overwhelming."