Covid-19 has really impacted ALL of our lives. For the STEM Alliance, it’s impacted how we interact with students. One way we’ve decided to counter this is to build “kits” of materials and provide both pre-recorded (Youtube) videos as well as online meetings (Google and Zoom) for kids and parents to experience what we once would have done face to face.
What are they?
Our mini-lessons are divided into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math activities. Our first mini-lesson (Microbit Robotics) focuses on learning the Technology of robotic control, but future lessons are being created now in Interactive Arts, Scientific Data Collection, and Polar Robotic Mathematics. Our plan is to build a library of short STEAM activities complete with the materials needed to connect students with our local STEAM professionals.
Who teaches them?
One of the benefits of our mini-challenges is that we provide a local STEAM professional as a resource for students to ask questions or get helpful ideas. All students “meet” as a group virtually with this professional twice during the activity. Should an emergency arise they are available for one on one virtual help as well. All volunteers are background checked and approved for work in public education.
How are they delivered?
All of the tools and equipment needed are provided in every kit. Activities are designed for students from grade 5 through grade 8. Special circumstances are always taken into account. Below is an example of one “activity” from our first “robotic” challenge.
What are the expectations for my child?
First, we ask that you sign up your child for the activity (there is no cost to you). We try to keep all “classrooms” populations from 12-15 students. There is an online (Zoom or Google) meeting at the mid point and end of the scheduled activity. Each activity is meant to run for 2 weeks, with a one week “play period” following the actual challenge.
Following the third week, the kits are to be returned to the Columbia STEM Alliance. We have Julie Nichols with Columbia Public Schools who is to be our main point of contact for distributing and receiving the kits. She will communicate with parents and guardians to arrange for the transfers.
This is NOT a required school activity and should not be presented as such! Our goal is to supplement students STEAM opportunities.