STEM After Hours
To complement our in-school STEM program, CMMC has launched a new initiative that we refer to as STEM After Hours. Many scientists believe that school is not where most Americans learn most of their science and that scientists are primarily inspired by out-of-school experiences. Our proposed STEM After Hours Program will provide a much needed additional opportunity to engage youngsters in engineering and technology outside of the classroom.
Our STEM After Hours program is made up of four separate initiatives: Family STEM Nights, the After School Program, the Summer Science Program and School Year STEM.
After School Program
The After School Program is designed to provide middle school children in the Monomoy Schools access to innovative opportunities to explore STEM topics in hands-on workshops designed to expand STEM experiences, stimulate creative thinking and promote active learning. The schedule for 2014 will offer three "terms", two in the spring and one in the fall, with four or five workshops offered each term. The size of each group will be limited in order to allow for active engagement by all participants. Teachers are solicited to offer their own ideas for the workshops. Early suggestions include: robotics, Mars student imaging project, rocketry, high school building project and film and video.
Summer Science Program
The success of summer science programs such as the Museum of Science (MoS) program in Boston can be emulated here on the Cape. We have discussed our program with the leadership at the MoS. A key element in their program is to use educators from the local schools to teach the courses. The plan for the CMMC summer program is to emphasize science and engineering, consistent with our mission. We plan to run the program for five weeks this summer, from mid-July to mid-August.
School Year STEM Programs
This section provides class descriptions and registration information for new programs being offered during the school year.
Click here for an announcement of our new Magnets and Motors class, for grade 3-5 students. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings from November 5 until December 10.
Click here for an announcement of our new Lego Robot Competition class, offered to students in grades 6-8. There will be twenty classes leding up to the competition. Classes will be held on Thursday afternoons from October 20 until March 30. Space is limited to the first 11 applicants.
Family STEM Nights
A concept for Family STEM nights was piloted in 2013. Students and their families were invited to come to CMMC to participate in several hands on projects. The evenings began with one or two math games that the students played with their parents. The games were followed by a design project. All participants, including parents, were given a set of parts and told what they were to build. They were also told how the performance of the product would be measured and challenged to build the best possible design. Examples of the projects were a paper airplane and a Puffmobile. We found that children, working with their parents, come up with very creative ways to solve the problems. As an example, for the Puffmobile challenge, students designed and built a wide variety of vehicles ranging from small four-wheel cars with paper sails to race car-like designs with three wheels (see photo below). After testing, the students were asked to share with one another what they thought they did best with their design and what they might do differently next time. Students were encouraged to look at all aspects of a problem and to understand that there is no right or wrong answer to an engineering problem. Failure is not necessarily a bad thing since it allows you to improve on your original idea.
Family STEM Night
Participants engaged in a math game (above)
& with "Puffmobiles" below).
CMMC envisions a society excited by science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The CMMC STEM student curriculum and teacher training are designed to help achieve that vision in the classroom. It is also known that having memorable experiences with science motivates students to embrace science and math. The CMMC believes that its unique combination of exciting exhibits at the Marconi Center, forward-thinking STEM educational programs in area schools and our proposed STEM After Hours program will make a substantial contribution to improving the understanding of these subjects among school children. There is simply no other organization on Cape Cod that offers this kind of focused education in an area of such known need.
C. J. Bartlett