Based around a DIY curriculum, our STEM workshops incorporate creativity and the arts to teach the participants (often aged 10-12) science concepts through a hands-on approach. These events serve as summer camps and after-school programming, and in addition to serving as a supplement to the normal STEM curriculum that children normally are exposed to, they also serve as an opportunity to close the gender gap in STEM. The biggest value that we place in our STEM workshops is an environment for leadership and teamwork. The girls in our programs are encouraged to work in groups on the various experiments we go through, having discussion and finding themselves as leaders. A flexible and inclusive space can encourage collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, and communication. In the past, our STEM workshops have been held in libraries, charter schools, public school, universities, etc.
Some examples of previous STEM workshops include:
- Clean energy day: participants built robotic cars running off solar energy
- Science and Sustainability: Participants learned about agriculture and food waste. They designed a compost model.
- Slime workshops: for younger participants, learned the science behind different kinds of slime.
- Ocean pollution: participants learned about the impact waste and oil spills had on the ocean. They designed methods for cleaning up the oil.
- Lava Lamp workshops: Participants learned about density, liquids, and light by making their own lava lamps.
We have the following philosophy for our STEM programs:
Using scenarios and problem solving makes a space for creativity to grow by having students work on a real-world challenge over a period of time. Solving a real-world problem that has no one right answer pushes students to think creatively. “PBL allows students to ask questions, think critically, and apply their academic knowledge to a real-world situation. Teachers take on the role of a facilitator, allowing students to work independently, make their own decisions, and experience independence in solving problems” (invent.org, trends in STEM).
Children have an internal sense of creativity, and our programs help them grow it through providing makerspaces. This is a place where they can think, explore, and invent ideas, all while learning about STEM fundementals.
Perfectionism is a natural impulse many girls may harbor, but by creating programs where students embrace mistakes, they can think about failure as an opportunity for growth instead.
Source: National Inventors Hall of fame
While our STEAM events incorporate learning and education, they are mainly focused on building creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills from a young age.