The Foundation’s education effort also includes events and programs focused on families.
In February 2012 over 350 students and parents attended Family STEM Night, where 12 organizations provided science, technology, engineering, and math learning activities and career information. In 2013 over 1,000 people attended, and the Foundation committed to making this an annual event. Attendees were able to talk with people in STEM careers, who provided guidance and inspiration to teachers and to students and their families and raised awareness of the importance and value of STEM education. The 2014 event was another well-attended success, drawing 738 children and adults even though that was the night of the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship parade celebration.
To highlight the addition of art and design skills to its STEM curriculum, on February 4, 2015, the Foundation presented a free “A-STEM Family Night,” at which 1,057 attendees participated in hands-on activities illustrating the role of STEAM skills in their daily lives.
In the summer of 2014 the Foundation committed to offering two 90-minute Weekend Family Workshops on Saturdays and Sundays (free with admission or membership), and the program continued in 2015. Participants explore the science of aerodynamics and build simple gliders that teach about control surfaces and the way wings work. Designs like the Hipster Hoopster (a circular wing glider) demonstrate the need for creative thinking in aerospace, and encourage young people to pursue aviation-related careers. Other activities explore how birds and other creatures take flight, examine new technology derived from natural systems, and encourage visitors to design their own artificial bird using four different wing shapes. Participants also enjoy story time and a different make-and-take-home project each week.
The five initial Weekend Family Workshop themes have been combined into one versatile yet comprehensive workshop. Specific topics are identified and explored on the day of the program, with a constant emphasis on the basic science that makes flight possible, the power and educational value of organic flight, and a sense that aviation technology is continuing to evolve. These workshops also emphasize creativity and artistic expression; every visitor leaves with something they made.