I am super excited to start expanding our maker space beyond the art and craft side by adding a few STEM workshops for kids. Making things in general helps expand your mind, improves your problem solving skills and your focus, and connects you with tangible learning experiences. Adding classes with a more traditional STEM basis makes sense and rounds out the STEAM approach.
What am I talking about? If you are new to these terms, STEM and STEAM are just acronyms for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Thinking about these subjects as interconnected, and teaching them in that same interconnected way, helps encourage students to think deeper and make connections between subjects to solve problems, create, and innovate, rather than thinking inside the box of one subject at a time.
The goal is for anyone, but especially kids, to get inspired, think outside the worksheet and textbook, and have fun learning creatively. We want to encourage students to realize that science, tech, and math are fun and worth pursuing in depth. They are subjects and thought processes that will help today’s students become tomorrow’s innovators, researchers, and leaders. And even if planning your 8 year old’s future career isn’t really on your mind today, it is still fun to tinker and learn how to use the resources available to make your ideas real.
Some people laugh and say that craft or art is not related to the sciences and math, but actually, they are much more intertwined than you may think. A lot of successful craft/art makers had successful careers in math or science prior to pursuing their more creative seeming work. And, as Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” They seem to all be fairly related to me.
So, back to what this means to Studio How-To. Starting in November, we will be hosting a variety of STEM workshops for kids of various ages. A wonderful Cleveland Heights Maker, STEM teacher, and math whiz, a.k.a. Sarah Wallace, dropped by the studio to check it out and decided we could use a STEM side of things. I couldn’t agree more, and we have cooked up some fun learning workshops for kids. We’ll have afterschool workshops, homeschool workshops, and weekend events.
The rest of this post outlines what we’ll be offering to kickoff the STEM workshops at the Studio. I don’t mean it to be salesy, but I am excited about these classes.
Our first event is in a few weeks on November 18. It’s a STEM extravaganza to let you sample what we have in store, learn some of the fun things you can do to design, create, and challenge your mind, and explore. We will have a 3-D printer in action, make paper circuits (yes, electricity and paper and lights), work with a laser cutter, race 3-D printed cars, and have a STEM challenge activity.
Next up, we’re holding a three session 3-D printing workshop. Kids will actually design their own items using design software on their computers, print their items, test their printed items, study previous designs, and learn how to incorporate their ideas into the designs. The workshop will walk students through the process from concept to reality, while letting them do the hand-on work.
In January, we’re hosting a roller coaster challenge where kids will work in teams to design and build their own marble roller coasters and see which team can create the best designs (judged in multiple categories).
We will even be hosting monthly STEM challenges where kids will learn about a specific STEM topic and then put that new information to the test in a friendly competitive challenge.
I am looking forward to seeing how these events unfold and where our maker space can take us. See you November 18, if not at an earlier handcraft class. Please send us a comment on social media with your ideas, requests, and questions.