As coronavirus cases increase in Fort Wayne Public Schools (FWPS), Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell announced that some scholars could return to fully remote learning when school resumes in January.
In the interim, FWPS continues to offer diverse learning experiences for scholars in grades K-12, ranging from exploratory learning in elementary schools through high school introductory college-preparatory classes aligned with career pathways.
Some students naturally gravitate toward STEM subjects, while others excel in another field. No matter their strength, all children need access to a balanced education that allows them to discover their pathways toward success; that is why a STEAM curriculum is so vital.
The arts can add value to STEM learning, from instruction (combining geometry with drama or music ) to sharing and interpreting STEM work (i.e., science fairs that double up as art shows or dance concerts ). Finally, arts may even provide a form of assessment allowing students to demonstrate their understanding through drawing, dramatizing, or even creating music!
STEAM integrates STEM and the arts to foster organic problem-solving of real-world issues. It has gained increasing traction among schools as it provides a more holistic learning experience that appeals to various learners regardless of gender or socioeconomic status – something precious considering women and minorities are underrepresented in STEM careers.
Leap4Kidz, founded in 2009, provides hands-on LEGO(r) curriculum to Eastside schools for children ages three through twelve. They offer online, in-person, and camps that teach STEM concepts, language arts, social studies, art, and team problem-solving.
Classes are organized hourly into three components: class discussion (lesson of the day), project model building from a planogram completed in pairs, and free play (“Master Builder” time). Children must participate fully throughout all aspects of class.
COVID HOLD HARMLESS: I, as the enrolling parent/legal guardian of my child’s participation in classes or camp programs offered by Leap4Kidz, Leap Enrichment, and Leap Education – Washington corporations – as well as their officers, volunteers, employees, and subcontractors, and agents agree to hold these entities harmless against any claims caused by my child’s participation (unless caused by Leap’s gross negligence or intentional acts ). Furthermore, I agree to follow CDC and State guidelines on avoiding direct contact between students/adults during class or camp sessions, including wearing masks when needed during class/camp sessions ( including use ).
Camp Invention, created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame with support from sponsors such as the US Patent and Trademark Office, is an exciting summer program fostering inventive young minds. Students learn to follow the Invention Process while working collaboratively, innovating, designing prototypes, and following it as they collaborate, innovate, and design prototypes – something which has proven to improve long-term STEM engagement, curiosity, and confidence among its participants.
Camp Invention’s full-day experiences introduce children to world-changing inventors while engaging them physically, teaching creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving. Some of the brightest thinkers develop each adventure – experienced educators and National Inventors Hall of Fame members – making this genuinely engaging for kids and educators.
Each year, this program presents a different theme and set of hands-on STEM activities, giving children a fresh take on building engineering skills through building their mini skate park, exploring physics and materials science by making glow-in-the-dark circuit boards, inventing fitness games to get into shape while exploring adaptive creativity, biomimicry, and intellectual property law.
STEM Exploration Night
STEM nights are an excellent way for families to engage with STEM learning and career pathways. Families can visit multiple activity stations at their own pace, rotating between stations. The most engaging STEM-themed activities appeal to various age ranges without requiring many materials – engineering design, science experiments, and math activities are often discussed as “must-dos.”
BCSC hosted an event featuring robots and coding exploration that gave parents a glimpse of students using STEM skills creatively – solving coding challenges, driving robots, and even turning a toothbrush head into a mini robot!
At the evening event, Federal Way Public Schools graduates (and IGNITE alumni!) presented a panel to share how STEM has led them into careers, including overcoming obstacles such as language barriers to succeed in their chosen STEM professions. Finally, panelists explored ways they are making a difference through STEM and encouraged other scholars to consider it a potential path.
Women in STEM
Women have made tremendous advances since 1970 in STEM fields, yet their representation still trails that of men. Women working in these areas sometimes feel pressured to play feminine roles and be “office mothers.” Additionally, many experience discrimination from coworkers or misinterpretation of their skills and contributions by coworkers.
Women graduating with STEM degrees typically perform well in fields like biological science and chemistry; however, their numbers drastically drop off in engineering and computer sciences due to factors like stereotype threat and difficulty finding employment after graduation.
To combat these statistics, programs designed to encourage female STEM studies must be implemented at schools and workplaces, along with measures designed to identify instances of sexism so women are treated fairly; by taking these steps, everyone will reap greater diversity and inclusion within STEM fields.