We believe that STEM outreach must start early! The purpose of our club is to engage young minds with various STEM activities. Our tasks include developing, testing and teaching exciting lesson plans for children, focused on elementary/middle school students but also high school students on occasion. We run the program in NYC elementary schools, on campus, and at various community events. We also aim for some of our events to be held in schools located in inner-city urban communities, aiming to inspire traditionally underrepresented youth to learn about STEM careers and that science can be fun. The main goal is to get the children exposed to and excited about STEM. This takes place through learning, building, tinkering, and testing. The students are gently introduced to the scientific method by being encouraged to ask questions, to guess, and to test their hypotheses without fear of failure.
We regularly hold hourly and daily workshops at campus-wide events such as Big Red Stem Day and Science Saturday. We also offer workshops in the community, at public schools and in neighborhood parks. Past workshops' lessons plans focused on genetics, microbiology, neuroscience, microscopy, chemistry, robotics, coding, bioart and others.
Since January 2018, in collaboration with Kinderbots and the New York Public Library (NYPL), we started offering twice-weekly, semester-long afterschool coding programs to neighborhood children, hosted on our campus. Bot Explorers and Bot Lab are instructional programs for ages 6-8 and 7-14 respectively and teach children computational concepts with Dash & Dot, Ozobots, and Evo. These programs recur on Wednesdays and Fridays. Concepts covered include: programs, loops, conditionals, debugging, event detection, sensors, robot autonomy. Skills acquired include: creativity, problem-solving, team building, abstractive thinking. The coding programs are complimentary to families and are proudly sponsored by WCM and the WCM GSEC, and they are made possible by the generosity of our graduate student club volunteers and our amazing robotics and coding instructor, Dr. Cristina Mota, PhD - computer science expert and founder of Kinderbots.
We also plan to add an additional weekly coding afterschool program, which teaches app development and Bitsbox, a Java-like simplified language, to kids ages 7-12. Coming Fall 2020.
added to the volunteer availability announcements listserv; and/or if you have ideas/resources for curriculum development and/or future collaborations. Previous experience in elementary education is not necessary, as we will provide training specific to particular lesson plans.
Our club would further like to thank the volunteers of the Tri-I/ Hunter scientific community who help further STEM outreach in various ways. Special thanks to Jeanne Gabarino (RU), Paul Feinstein (Hunter), Christopher Mason (WCM), Sarah Stammer (WCM), Marcus Lambert (WCM), and WCM Government and Community Affairs for valuable mentorship, volunteering time to give talks, lesson plan development input and lending or donating old lab supplies. It takes a village - thank you.
Examples of testimonials and feedback our club receives:
"Thank you so much for your time and dedication to Big Red STEM Day last week. The students in your workshop had amazing things to say, and we are already receiving such positive feedback from the teachers that attended. The attendees cannot stop talking about everything they learned, so much so, parents are emailing their child’s school to tell them! Events like this would not be possible without your contributions. Although brief, your time spent mentoring these students during the workshop sessions makes them feel like you want to be there. You make them feel valued and important, and show them that they are capable of achieving anything they put their mind to."