The Problem

The Acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and many of our initiatives at STREAMWORKS revolve around these principles. So why is STEM so important? In the last decade the demand for STEM jobs have increased significantly. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S.A will need approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S.A will produce over the next decade if we want to keep our preeminence in science and technology. The United States is in a STEM career deficit; therefore, STREAMWORKS wants to help fill this gap by instilling a love for STEM in our youth. In addition, our mission is to prepare them for future jobs in the STEM fields. It is hard to believe that 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled when the rate of STEM jobs grew 3 times the rate of non STEM jobs from 2000 to 2010. Despite there being a need for jobs in math and science, 78% of high school graduates did not meet the benchmark readiness requirements for mathematics and science. On top of that 22 countries beat the U.S in student performance in mathematics and 16 countries’s students outperform us in science. In addition, another one of our initiatives is our women in STEM initiative as we acknowledge the gender gap between the number of men and women and STEM fields and want to inspire young women to pursue these careers. Students are obviously having difficulty understanding math and science concepts and STREAMWORKS believes that hand-on learning will be the key in making this connection.

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Robotics Initiatives

One of the most beneficial activities to take part of if wanting to go into a STEM career is to be a part of a robotics team. At STREAMWORKS we offer two different robotics programs. We offer MATE underwater robotics and Robot Drone League (RDL). In both initiatives teams have to work together to produce a prototype in order to solve real-world problems. Last year’s MATE competition revolved around repairing a dam and helping solve the plastic waste issues in our waterways. This year’s RDL competition revolves around NASA’s dragonfly mission. Teams are challenged to create a rover in order to collect samples and explore around Titan’s vast terrain. We challenge the mind’s of our youth which gives them problem solving skills they will use to solve these problems in the future as well as any other problems that come their way. In addition, robotics can introduce them to skills they would not get inside of a classroom such as constructing robotic chassis, soldering electronics, understanding electronics, programing, how to use motors and basic mechanics, Computer Aided Design (CAD), etc. Students are able to apply the fundamentals of math and science they learn in the classroom into real world problems. The competition aspect motivates students to perform their best as well as compare their designs to other teams to lead to future improvements. Making this connection will show kids just how important these concepts are and will hopefully instill a love for science and math in robotics participants. Being a member of a robotics team also teaches students how to work with other people, communication, responsibility, and leadership skills. You can learn more about each of our robotics programs by going to the programs tab on our homepage or you can learn more about the impact of robotics on students by going to our robotics page. 

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Robotics Summer Camps

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STREAMWORKS  also offers robotics summer camps in order to extend a student’s education from the classroom. Summer camps focus on different skills students will need for future careers through hands-on activities and instruction. Camps will focus on the fundamentals of both science and robotics and will be offered to elementary, middle, and high school students. We implement elements of physics, chemistry, and biology with electricity, mechanics, and programming to make the connection between the classroom and the real world. In addition, each week has a theme and an ultimate project for the campers to solve. Fridays are usually competition days as STREAMWORKS believes that including the competition aspect is highly important in the development of character. You learn how to win and how to lose which teaches kids how to deal with failure and how to improve. In addition, attending these camps allows campers to meet others with similar interests to them. Overall, if one is interested in robotics but unable to participate on a team these week long camps are a great way to still obtain these essential skills. Some of the past camps included CAD camps, Space Camps, Coding camps, Underwater robotics camps, Robot Drone League camps, Drone camps, Lego jr. Camp, Lego Sumo camps, and so much more. As you can see our camps are diverse and spreading across all different potential interests. We want to expose kids to a wide variety of subjects to allow them to experiment and find what career they want to pursue. The mission of our summer camps is to inspire the youth of our community to pursue a STEM career and allow them to experiment with what STEM career they want to pursue.

Workshops

Not only is it important to educate our students but it is also important to educate our teachers. Our goal is to revolutionize education to help better prepare students for life outside of their schooling. We want to show teacher’s how to better prepare their students by partaking in hand-on learning and STEM activities. STREAMWORKS will provide teacher workshops in order to do this. In these workshops teachers will learn and participate in hand-on activities to incorporate into the curriculum. Teacher’s will also be given information that is essential for the students to know. We hope teachers will take what they have learned from these workshops and apply them in the classroom. Workshops will cover multiple STEM topics and we even offer workshops for teachers interested in mentoring a robotics team. More information about workshops will be coming soon. 

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Sources

STEM crisis or STEM surplus? Yes and yes : Monthly Labor Review. (2015, May 01). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/stem-crisis-or-stem-surplus-yes-and-yes.htm

The STEM Imperative. (2016, March 25). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Article Written By: Makaila Freeman