STEM Expands Student Vision
• High school STEM students are excited to share science and technology knowledge.
As Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs become more prominent in schools across the nation, the demographic of students learning these fields has expanded to include elementary schools as well.
Robotics FRC team members are helping spread STEM concepts to these children. Recently, they hosted an after-school STEM camp where students from second and fifth grades learned about STEM through several projects that all had STEM related aspects.
The team prepared four projects: balsa wood gliders, straw structures, paper airplanes and mousetrap cars.
Each project went under three different themes of aerodynamics: structure, stability and simple machines. After completing the projects, they held competitions for everything the students had built.
“It was pretty amazing because the students were very diverse,” said Jade Eng, founder and director of the camp. “Some of them had no background in STEM and others were very knowledgeable, but I am glad that so many of them enjoyed the camp, regardless of how much they knew prior, said Eng.
“I had such a great time teaching them, and I thought it was a really worthwhile experience to help students see what engineering could do.”
Eng has been a part of STEM programs, such as Cyber Patriots and Robotics, since she was a freshman at Peninsula High.
“STEM is important for our society to move forward and discover new ways of thinking,” Eng said. “There is so much that we can do to improve our lives and the lives of future generations if we keep developing ourselves and the way we think about the world through engineering.
“STEM is going to take us from the deepest oceans to starry skies and everywhere in between. Along the way, I hope that the world will be able to work together to come up to solutions to core problems like global warming,” she said.
Not only is the STEM fields expanding to people of all ages, it is also growing among girls.
“I think it is particularly important for historical minorities to be represented in STEM so that way the diversity of our ideas increases, which is why I am thrilled to be a woman leader in STEM,” Eng said.
“I have been trying to make sure that there are opportunities for women in STEM to be heard. I am going to be organizing a women in tech conference later this year.”
President of the team, Olivia Bradley, has been in robotics since her freshman year, but has been taking STEM classes since 6th grade.
As president, she works closely with the team to ensure the team runs efficiently and completes its goals.
She communicates with the leaders, mentors and team members to see what work is getting done, what needs to be done and conveys the information to the necessary people. This includes everything from designing, manufacturing and programming robots to monitoring safety, preparing us for competition and assisting in business projects such as marketing, fundraising and outreach.
“STEM is important because it is present in every part of our lives,” Bradley said. “Science is everywhere in the world around us, manufacturing, food production, health care and more all rely on science, technology, engineering, and math.”