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.
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.
STAR Education has made the jump to light speed this summer with the Jedi-approved Science of Star Wars: Clash with the Dark Side summer camp. From rockets to magnetism, to taking a ride on a real-life hovercraft, our student padawans have been making the connection between the science of our daily world to the realm of imagination seen in the blockbuster movie series.
At IQ-GO Science, the science program at STAR, science is always as fun as it is educational, but this camp was out of this world. Our young Jedi were able to work their bodies and minds as they developed their Force skills in our Jedi agility training program. Lightsaber duels each day finally culminated in an epic struggle with one of our Sith Battle Lords.
The highlight for many was a ride on the STAR hovercraft which brought up images of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder streaking across the desert landscape. Our kids were able to discover how a Van de Graaff generator accumulates electricity and even recreate a scene from the bizarre alien cantina. Learning the laws of physics and motion allowed our campers to create and launch their own rockets, narrowly avoiding Star Destroyers that were hot on their tail.
Never falling to the Dark side, our campers discovered that like the Force, science is all around us. And though the alien guacamole they made wasn’t as scientific… it was delicious! Check out all the innovative science summer camps we’re offering at www.starcamps.org
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.