Parents, PTAs, Teachers and Principals came to the STAR Resource Station from all around Los Angeles to find out more about everything STAR Education has to offer! Here are some of our favorite pictures from the day…
There was plenty of fun to go around at STAR Education’s 2nd S.T.E.A.M.Topia! Over 150 young innovators showed up for a day of hands-on learning, experimenting, and exploration! Focused on the S.T.E.A.M. disciplines of Science, Technlogy, Engineering, Art, and Math, S.T.E.A.M.Topia is designed to show how S.T.E.A.M. disciplines work together to illuminate principles behind fascinating phenomena in the human experience, and how these subjects are easily applicable in the real world.
Elementary and middle school children were able to test their engineering abilities by designing the car of the future, discover the math behind wilderness survival skills, explore the technology behind artificial intelligence through Turing tests, build a survival dome to withstand the elements, craft high-flying rockets, design 3D forced perspective art, study electric circuitry, and learn the behind-the-scenes of toy making!
Students from the STAR LEGO© Robotics program also competed in the Battle of the Brains! Battle of the Brains is an opportunity for students to battle their Mindstorm sumo-bots that they have spent 12 weeks designing, building, and programming using mechanical engineering, computer programming, special reasoning, teamwork, aesthetic and functional design and other S.T.E.A.M. based skills.
The action didn’t stop there – students also had the opportunity to ride a real hovercraft, experience the science of break-dancing and hula hooping, build at the LEGO© booth, put on a sumo suit to explore the physics behind sumo-wrestling, engage in interactive technology exhibits, and so much more!
The STAR S.T.E.A.M. Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) has introduced thousands of students to cutting edge and innovative programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. S.T.E.A.M. utilizes specialized, multidisciplinary curricula propelled by problem solving, discovery, and exploratory learning, which encourage students to actively engage in a situation in order to find its solution. STAR S.T.E.A.M. programs aim to engage students to solve real world challenges and ignite their interest in college and future careers. S.T.E.A.M.topia is part of STAR Education’s initiative to support the growing trend in education to stress practical, hands-on, and innovative curricula. STAR is an active member of the S.T.E.M. Education Coalition and is at the forefront of promoting S.T.E.A.M. programs in California.
Last Thursday night was an exhilarating night for the students and families of Nora Sterry Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA. Nora Sterry is famous for going all out for its Family Nights, and last night was no exception! Family Nights are an opportunity for STAR to team up with a school and provide an early evening program for students and their families.
This week the LA Parent Magazine 2012 Readers Choice BEST OF Issue hit newsstands and for the fourth year in a row LA’s parents have voted STAR Education the Best After School Program, Best Educational and Tutoring Program, Best Early Childhood Program, Best Summer Camp, Best Art Program and Best Performing Arts Program! We even came in second place for Best Cooking Program for the first time! (Next year we promise it will be first.)
For each category STAR qualifies for, we rose to the top, making us in the eyes of those that matter most, the parents, the BEST of the BEST in Los Angeles. Christine Abraham of Pacific Palisades called us “a working parent’s best friend”*. This proves, once again, that our continued and tireless dedication to bringing the families of Southern California the highest quality education, enrichment and recreation programs is what brings STAR Education back into the schools year after year.
STAR is always working for you and your children, making sure that our staff is thoroughly vetted while also meeting the highest standards of education and enthusiasm. We are always striving for new and innovative classes and curricula to keep our students learning, engaged and of course, having fun! Our educational successes are measurable. Beyond the Bell has called STAR Education the “golden standard” of after school education. Our staff has helped raise test scores by up to 44 points in this last year alone!
Our Galaxy programs are head and shoulders above the average after school child care program. We were rated the Best Educational and Tutoring Program because we give every STAR child specially designated time to do their homework and our college educated staff is there ready and excited to help.
“Parents rave about the professionalism and caring of the staff, convenience and affordability of the program, and the fun their kids have. They also enjoy that STAR gives kids a head-start on homework. ‘My child begs to stay every day after school,’ says Jillion Weisberg of Los Angeles. ‘I have to limit her to two classes a day because I miss her. She has taken everything from dance to gardening to science.’”*
There’s organized sports activities, as well as built-in enrichment classes at every school site. In 2011, we were voted the Best Sports Program in LA Parent as well!
We are dedicated to making our students STARs! In the last year our events have become even bigger powerhouses with our first RockSTAR WinterFest on the Sunset Strip giving our STAR kids the chance to rock out on professional stages TWICE in one year, including our 7th Annual Battle of the Bands at the House of Blues. We had two original plays: A Cinderella Tale taught students and audiences important lessons about preventing bullying during the winter session and My Favorite Alien, a technological and astronomical extravaganza inspired by Cirque du Soleil, brought STAR families to their feet in the spring. Our 12th Annual Children’s Earth Day at the STAR Eco Station not only featured performances by all of our STAR kids, but special appearances by local politicians like Culver City Mayor Andrew Weissman and former Mayor Micheál O’Leary, environmental organizations such as Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation and the cast of Disney’s A.N.T. Farm!
With after school programming budgets under the microscope, it is more important than ever that we honor your vote of confidence. Thank you for your incredible recognition of our organization, our magnificent, dedicated and enthusiastic staff and all of our hard work. All of our efforts are for you, the parents, and your children. We promise to continue to offer the same quality programming that has gained us such overwhelming support from the community. Thank you for making STAR Education a part of your lives!
*“Best of 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.” LA Parent August 1, 2012: 18-31.
STAR Education has jumped in to lead the charge for S.T.E.M. in Southern California (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). San Fernando Valley middle-schoolers get to see this integrated curriculum at work in our innovative Roller Coaster Mania three week camp that exposes kids to the world of monster coasters and the science and math that makes them work.
Roller Coaster Mania is the brain child of STAR’s Department of Education. Headed up by Karen Mowrer, Gina Hendron, and Kerry Chow, the camp will be conducted at California State University Northridge (CSUN) and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The camp runs from July 9-27 and gives low income students the chance to see science and math at work in one of the most exhilarating places imaginable.
Students will design and build their own coasters using high tech tablets and test the science behind them with fun and hilarious activities. Participants in the camp can look forward to bungee jumping an egg, speed trials, and testing out the physics of sling shots and catapults.
Students will mix fun and learning to encourage college educations and future careers. STAR was awarded a Gear Up Grant for the project which aims to raise college attendance among low-income students. The grant helps fund a 6 year program to follow current seventh graders all the way up through high school and beyond.
The finale of the camp will be the trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. STAR will be working with involvement from the American Coaster Enthusiasts who will guide students through the park and lend their incredible insight on the history and workings of the rides.
STAR’s Assistant Director of Education, Gina Hendron, noted that the need for STEM has become so great because of the stigma that students often place on science and math. “The great aspect of the program is how it takes something that many kids feel stinks – math, and shows them how it is behind something really cool – roller coasters.” Gina also noted that over half of the program is made up by female students, a demographic which is usually low in science and math fields.
Students from 4 middle schools in the San Fernando Valley are already partially funded through the Gear Up grant, but the most important aspect of this camp is the behind-the-scenes tour of Six Flags, giving the students an even closer look at how their new skills apply to the real world.
Bring math and science to these students with a hands-on, real-world experience while also giving them a positive summer camp adventure with their classmates and teachers. Please help us get these amazing kids to Six Flags on Friday so they can see the roller coasters in action after all their hard work in the classroom. Donate to Roller Coaster Mania here.
This week on NPR there was an article about the difficulty that still persists for women making strides in scientific fields. You can read/listen to the article online HERE.
STAR Education has just completed its first week of our very first Roller Coaster Camp where we’re teaching 100 7th grade students math, science and physics through studying and designing roller coasters. On the final day, we will be taking a field trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain for an extra special behind-the-scenes tour led by roller coaster experts.
What’s even more special about this summer camp is that it is funded entirely through a Gear Up Grant and the generous support of individual donors to STAR Education. This camp is attended at no cost to these low-income students…many who have never had a summer camp experience before.
AND…over 50% of our Roller Coaster Campers are girls…54 to be exact.
With just two weeks to go, our IndieGogo campaign is over halfway to its mark. Any funds we raise over the $4,000 goal will be used to support additional scholarships for financially needy students in our math and science projects later this year.
You can help STAR do what we do every day: Give every student a chance to excel in life through learning that truly inspires them. Help support this camp that brings math and science to life…
Check out our IndieGogo Campaign HERE.
On Saturday Feb 25, 2012, STAR Education’s Engineering and LEGO© Departments attended a robotics workshop at LEGOLAND California. Representing STAR Education that day were Raymond Lo, Helen Hua, and Aleksandar Stanisic. The purpose of the workshop was to learn about the advantages of using LEGO© Robotics to teach math, science, and engineering. The workshop was also a great opportunity to learn more about the LEGO© robotics competition, The First LEGO© League (FLL).
The STAR team attended a presentation regarding the future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education by one of California’s leaders in K-12 science education, Nancy Taylor. The STAR team also attended a First LEGO© League presentation. The FLL presenter, Liz Ables, provided great information regarding the creation and management of FLL teams. In addition to attending the presentations, Raymond, Helen and Alex worked on designing and building robots during the hands-on robotics workshop. They were challenged to build and program a robot to successfully navigate a maze. The attached video shows a few highlights from the STAR team’s maze runs.
The workshop was a great experience for the STAR team and will provide a great launch point for STAR’s future involvement with the First LEGO© League. STAR Education will begin forming student teams and having competitions during the fall of 2012.
When you see the panicked look on teenagers’ faces after someone mentions “algebra”, it’s hard to imagine that a 3rd grader might react with more enthusiasm. Can a kid who doesn’t know cursive really solve such an abstract equation? Well, STAR always likes a good challenge!
The Education Department at STAR has begun exploring the concept of “Hands-On Equations”, which was created by Dr. Henry Borenson as a way to teach students that traditional math classes failed to reach. Students use a real scale, dice, and pawns to represent equations ranging from the 3rd grade level all the way up to high school! They then use a few simple rules to shift pieces around to eventually make the scale balanced on each side. Students learn to translate something that looks like this:
Into something that looks like this:
And voila! An abstract equation is transformed into something that kids can touch, see, and feel while they figure out a solution using basic math skills. Guess algebra isn’t really that scary after all…
What happens when brilliant young minds from all over Los Angeles gather to compete in a Battle of the Brains? STAR Education’s First Annual S.T.E.M.topia! This past weekend, at the STAR Education headquarters in Culver City, mini Einsteins, pocket-sized DaVincis, and young Marie Curies assembled to celebrate their united passions in an event focused on S.T.E.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Hosting a S.T.E.M. event has been a dream of STAR’s for years, and 2012 was the year to finally make it a reality. Students enrolled in STAR S.T.E.M. programs were able to test the LEGO© Mindstorm Rovers they’ve spent 12 weeks working on with their teammates. In a space-themed room, with an attentive audience watching in anticipation, the elementary school teams put their preprogrammed robots to the test in a series of complex missions including independent path finding, terrain analysis, and directional sensing.
And that’s not all! Specialty workshops, called S.T.E.M-Shops, were open to the public and available for STAR S.T.E.M. students during the breaks in their competitions. Kids ranging in ages from 5-12 signed up for hands-on S.T.E.M.-Shops such as Roller Coaster Dynamics, iPad Game Design, 3D building using Zome construction tools, LEGO© Robotics – and they even got the opportunity to ride a real hovercraft!
Stay tuned for information on future S.T.E.M. events!
STAR S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs aim to engage students to solve real world challenges and ignite their interest in college and future careers. S.T.E.M.topia is part of STAR Education’s initiative to support the growing trend in education to stress practical, hands-on, and innovative curricula. STAR is an active member of the S.T.E.M. Education Coalition and is at the forefront of promoting S.T.E.M. programs in California.