Sunday, August 11, 2013

On Mission: Making STEM fun and real



"Thank you, it was a very fun and educational camp", said a 3rd grade student. 

The best part about STEM For Kids’ programs is “getting the students to finally think critically pertaining to real world situations.“, a K-8 public school teacher in North Carolina.

“… campers left with a better appreciation of the structures around them as well as the importance to communicate and work together.”, STEM For Kids' STEM Coach in a blog about life of a STEM Coach.

These and numerous other feedbacks from parents, campers and educators encourage us and help us make continuous improvement towards our two-fold mission of making STEM fun and real. 

With 7 months of 2013 already under our belts, we asked ourselves, how are we doing in progress towards our mission? 

Many of my past colleagues from industry and corporations ask me, “I know my stuff, I am an expert in what I do … however, how do I explain it to kids in a fun way?” Yet, as I discussed in my earlier post The Big Bang Theory of STEM, fun is an important and critical ingredient of a STEM program geared for kids. Results from our camper survey shows that STEM For Kids’ (SFK) is excelling on this front … 

99% of SFK program participants report they had fun with STEM in SFK programs. Thanks to our innovative curricula that is uniquely designed by engineers and people in industry to bring complex engineering/business concepts to a child’s level while engaging them with hands-on activities and challenges. In our programs, children build poppers, the stopping droids, Avatars, windy cars, robots, design bridges and skyscrapers, launch rockets, play action-reaction tag, race their gators, and a lot more. 


On the REAL front, we observed a 30% percent point improvement in children’s knowledge of how science is used outside school after they participated in a STEM For Kids’ 7 day camp.
Making strong connections to the real world is a priority as stated in our organization’s mission.  In the end, we are striving to get children prepared for life skills for the real world. Our program participants experience 3Cs of critical thinking, collaboration and communication; they budget, manage to time constraints, work in teams, use technology as a tool, conceptualize ideas and share with others.

Selected guest speakers in SFK programs are bolstering our efforts by bringing industry perspectives to further feed campers’ curiosity. Recently young minds in grades K-5 made a connection between their robotic creations and NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars through an exciting presentation by NASA Solar System Ambassador, Marc Fusco.  Read News and Observer reporting of the event here.

We know our steps are in the right direction and we have a long journey ahead of us …

By: Moni Singh, Founder and CEO, STEM for Kids, LLC. Mrs. Singh offers a unique perspective on innovation in education through her three lenses: as a mother of elementary age children strongly focused on making STEM fun for kids; as an engineer and a technologist who has brought several technologies to the market, from wireless phones to smart meters; and as a business leader who understands through her work across global organizations that success in the 21st century requires skills in addition to pure technical competence. 
You can find her at LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.