Ah, summer: The time for running through sprinklers, playing outside, and…working on real-world STEM projects! This month, students in grades five through eight in Chicago spent a week engaging in science, technology, engineering, and math at STC i2 Camp, held with Namaste Charter School. Rising fifth and sixth graders dove into Kinetic Sculpture, which included balance, gearing, energy sources, and design-oriented thinking: Using the principles they learned from studying the work of artists like Alexander Calder. At the end of the week, students brought together their skills to create large scale, chain-reaction-type works of art. Meanwhile, rising 7th and 8th graders put Crime Scene Investigation into action: In this course, students became members of a “crime scene unit” as they acted out crime scenes, gathered evidence, and analyzed data from fingerprints and fibers to dental impressions and blood splatter. It was an amazing week of hands-on learning that got us excited about STEM and real-world learning!
STEM allows students to address real “social, economic, and environmental problems and seek solutions,” and that problem-solving is a huge aspect of real-world learning. Exposure to STEM helps foster innovation and creativity in students, builds critical thinking skills, encourages the organization and analysis necessary to solving problems, and ties into technology and ideas that are becoming part of students’ daily lives. So, in the spirit of embracing all things technology, we had Jennifer, Executive Director of STC Chicago, bust out her phone to chat with a couple awesome i2 campers!