#STEAMSUMMER REFLECTIONS

Dear friends,

I invite you to learn more about #STEAMSummer from Torie Leslie, our STEAM Community Catalyst. -DJ

With the start of the 2016-2017 school year right around the corner, I think of those beginning-of-the-year icebreakers when teachers and students share their summer experiences. This year I would have the best story to tell sharing the amazing summer I spent with 28 scholars in our first ever #STEAMSummer experience. We spent four weeks living in the acronym letters of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).

Week one we explored graphic ARTS using Google Slides, TurtleArt and Scratch programming. I was introduced to young graphic designers as I watched students digitally design T-shirt logos and create spirals of colorful art using TurtleArt.20160721_092345

During week two we tested our ENGINEERING skills with a daily “contraptions” challenge with paper rockets, egg drop carriers, foil boats and spaghetti towers. It was the best use of 20 rolls of Scotch tape, 3 rolls of aluminum foil and 200 pennies ever!

Week three we used routine household products to complete SCIENCEexperiments using everyday MATH. We made fireworks in a jar, Kool-Aid playdough, Alka-Seltzer rockets, melted crayon art and our own bubble solution. 

Week four we used MIT Scratch and LEGO WeDo kits to build complex LEGO robots. This combination of ENGINEERING and TECHNOLOGY brought out some of the most complex LEGO robots I’ve seen.

Each week at #STEAMSummer, students used a portion of their day to nurture their own STEAM project. Most days, students wanted to extend our class lesson, which let me know that we correctly targeted their likes.

We welcomed each other every morning during community time and challenged ourselves to be smarter, humble and supportive during our daily reflection time. After working hard, we would always play hard!! Each week, kids LOVED going outside to shoot some hoops, race on spooner boards or make up games in the play area.

You never know what single experience sparks the light of hope, opportunity, creativity or encouragement in a child. As an educator, my job is to provide as many instances where that can occur as possible. The added bonus is when this spark turns into a fire or even an inferno which directs that child into a lifelong passion.20160718_133305_720

I’m proud of being a part of #STEAMSummer, where I saw the spark in EVERY child we worked with. Thanks to the support of friends like you who gave to #ActivateSummer, we were able to serve more scholars than ever this year. I’m confident these scholars will continue to grow, with your help, and hope I’ll be able to help harness the passion we found in them.

In my ideal world I could replicate the same nurturing, learning, independent project, technology-infused atmosphere year round…But wait, I can in our #STEAMSaturday experience! Bring it on!!

-Torie Leslie, STEAM Community Catalyst

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