Organizing events like the STEAM Fair and putting together this STEM Newsletter are fun labors of love, but what do we really hope to achieve?
Our mission continues to be to put the amazing, fun, and powerful world of STEM in the hands of kids. With the new year, we’ve been reflecting about how to achieve this mission. We believe the key to success is to expose, engage, and challenge kids.
We first want to expose kids to as many different aspects of STEM as possible. Without an initial exposure, how will they know if they’re interested? Our goal here is to answer the question, “What is it?” and help kids learn the basics. We’re doing this regularly through information and suggestions about activities via the KNE STEM Newsletter. Then with events like the STEAM Fair we have brought in experts to share their passion with kids.
The second phase is to engage kids. A big part of engagement is to answer “Why is it important?” We want kids to learn how an aspect of STEM relates to other things, how it impacts life, and more specifically their own lives. Our STEM/STEAM events and STEM Newsletter is where we not only provide exposure, but start the engagement. As a community, we need to create more opportunities for engagement with hands-on activities and discussions at events, school, home, workshops, after school classes and clubs, and camps.
We see challenge as the third stage of STEM enrichment where kids need to figure out “How do I use this to make a difference?” This is where they take it to the next level and create their own meaning from what they’ve learned. In robotics, they might build and program a robot to solve a task. Perhaps they will do scientific experiments and research to answer their own hypotheses. Regardless of how they challenge themselves with STEM, an important part of the process is to share what they’ve learned with others.
At Kids Need Enrichment we challenge our kid “ambassadors” to put the amazing, fun, and powerful world of STEM in the hands of other kids. This year we are providing “Senior Experiences” to local high schoolers who are organizing and running STEM events, including a new “KNE STEM Talks”, where kids will share their expertise and passion with a live audience! Our hope is that these kids will expose and engage others while meeting the challenge of taking themselves to the next level.