After-School STEM Lab
If you could request anything to be in an after-school STEM lab, what would it be? What focus would you like to see? What types of activities would benefit your students most?
I am part of the ideation for a local, non-profit STEM lab for the community and would love input from teachers from all grade levels.
Christine.Girtain last edited by
Srividhya.Sundaram last edited by
If the kids are interested in building and enjoying gears in their work, a robotics club with focus on gears and how you could make simple machines using gears will be cool!
Thanks for the link, @Christine-Girtain. Sounds like a good hands-on activity, and quite important to know!
Perfect, @Srividhya-Sundaram! I think a Robotics club is an excellent fit for an after-school STEM lab!
Randi.Neff last edited by
@Katrina-Fogelson @Srividhya-Sundaram - Drones are also a good choice for high school students who can get a commercial license and begin making money taking pictures for a variety of organizations. Each State has their own guidelines, I believe, but they are based upon FAA rules found here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/
@Randi-Neff What a cool idea! Thanks for the suggestion. Especially with the prevalence of drones these days, it's better to educate the kids on how they should be used.
Luna Dara.Kelondra last edited by
My dream STEAM lab would have laptops, Raspberry Pi's, Arduinos, robotics kits such as Makeblock (not meaning to be an advertisement, but an example) so that kids could first learn the basics then explore and expand their learning, all manner of tools and bits and bobs to experiment with. The various tools and materials would depend on what the focus or goals of the program would be. Kids can learn a lot with vinegar, baking soda, food color, dish soap, and a space to make a mess. A group of 2-5 yo's had a fantastic time learning with just those ingredients in a storytime I did.
Luna Dara.Kelondra last edited by
One year during spring break, I did a special t'ween series of programs. They had to register and commit to come Tuesday-Friday because each day built on the one before. Over the course of the week, they learned about gears, cams, levers, cranks, etc, as they built paper automata from cardstock. They had a great time, ended up with cool toys they could show off, started using words like "cam," "axle," "crank," "gear," etc. and at the end of the week they knew how to design and make their own automata (AND they knew what that word means, too!).
I printed and cut out all the pieces ahead of time, so that the kids to get right to the fun part - building cool toys! That makerspace only required the printed designs on cardstock, glue, toothpicks, space towork and space to store the automata overnight to dry, and kids.
If you're curious, check out these sites:
Not meaning to sound like an advertisement, but anything by Rob Ives, either on his site or any of his books, will be great. Some of his designs can be rather complicated, so I would suggest starting simple and building up.
Katrina.Madok 0 last edited by
At the elementary level, I believe it is important to stress critical thinking skills while the students are using hands-on learning and discovering answers to their STEM projects through trial and error - something not done enough of during a traditional school day. I love when students are given limited targeted materials (especially recyclables) to build something that will solve a problem, and then share their results with others. Tying topic to a local current event or seasonal topic is a fun way to inspire students - I look for off beat stories in the news or historical events for inspiration.