STEM education program inspires Tucson kids

June 25, 2009

By hammersmith

STEM education program inspires Tucson kids

Ultra hands-on activities get participants learning and engaged

Andrea Rivera, Arizona Daily Star, 06.25.2009

Ethan Burch has always loved science, but his appreciation for the subject is even greater since he attended the Flowing Wells Summer Science Camp. “I love science, but now I want to marry science,” Ethan said. “I thought science was about the universe and gravity, but it’s also about marine biology and archaeology. There’s maybe 800 fields of science.”

Ethan, 11, was one of about 15 students — mostly from the Flowing Wells Unified School District — who attended the four-day camp at Flowing Wells Junior High School, 4545 N. La Cholla Blvd.  Ethan will start the sixth grade at Homer Davis Elementary School in August.  Three sessions of the four-day camp were held starting June 1 as part of a pilot program between the Flowing Wells 21st Century Skills for Success Program, the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Science Center to increase students’ exposure to science, technology, engineering and math, which are collectively referred to as STEM.  Camp concluded last Thursday with a trip via Hummer limousine to the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix.

Only three school districts in the state hosted summer STEM camps through the partnership.  STEM instruction emphasized discovery, not through memorization of facts, camp instructor Alisa Reynolds said. Meredith Close, an outreach coordinator at the Arizona Science Center, and Michelle Cook also were part of the teaching staff.

Some of the students couldn’t recall liking science as much before attending the camp.  “Before I went to camp, I thought science was trees and nature, but now I learned you can explode stuff and do experiments. It opened my mind,” Madeline “Mady” Hahn said.  Mady, 10, will be a sixth-grader at Walter Douglas Elementary School in August.

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