BY CHANGE THE EQUATION MAY 2017
WHY OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS TO LEND SUPPORT TO STEM-FOCUSED SUMMER CAMPS AND PROGRAMS THAT SHORE UP STEM LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES DURING THE SUMMER.
STEM advocaates pour a boatload of time and talent into improving K–12 STEM learning. For many students, however, learning gains achieved during the school year take a substantial hit during the summer vacation months. Ouch! That cuts into the return on investment for STEM education programs.
We hear a lot about the reading slump that occurs over the summer, when many kids tend to put the books aside. The learning slump is every bit as real in STEM subjects—and some studies indicate that the slump is more pronounced in math than in reading. Here’s a sampling of the research:
› Most young people lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills during the summer (National Summer Learning Association).
› Unequal access to summer learning opportunities accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap between low- and middle-income students (Johns Hopkins University).
› The achievement gap at ninth-grade is mainly attributable to the differences in summer learning during the elementary school years—and students who are substantially behind are at higher risk of dropping out (Afterschool Alliance, Cornell University).
› Access to technology during the summer months benefits higher-income children more than lower-income children. That’s because higher-income children tend to use technology with adult guidance, which steers them to more challenging material and activities, whereas lower-income children are left on their own, without direction (National Summer Learning Association).
› Sixty-six percent of teachers say it takes them at least three to four weeks to reteach the previous year’s skills at the beginning of a new school year—and more than a third of these teachers say it take them five weeks or more (National Summer Learning Association).
What to do about the summer STEM slide? Summer learning programs can make a world of difference. For example, students who attend quality summer programs return to school with stronger math skills than their peers who do not attend such programs (RAND Corporation). Students struggling the most in elementary and middle schools show the greatest gains in intensive summer programs, according to a study by BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life). Yet many students—especially those who could most benefit from them—do not have access to summer learning opportunities. Demand exceeds supply, and many parents cannot afford the cost (Afterschool Alliance).
Given these findings, it’s worth lending support to STEM-focused summer camps and programs that shore up STEM learning opportunities during the heat of summer. Here are are just a few:
Camp Eagle at Stratford Academy
WHAT IT OFFERS: A number of STEM-based camps throughout the summer, from studying with a professional glassblower to coding and building a computer to agri-STEM and Maker Studio classes (soldering and Arduino programming).
ITS FOCUS: Students will find so many options for their STEM interests.
ITS REACH: Grade 3 and up.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s Science Bar
WHAT IT OFFERS: The opportunity for children to learn through interactive exhibits.
ITS FOCUS: It features interactive exhibits about light, robotics, and the human body!
ITS REACH: All Museum visitors.
FPD’S Center for Discovery
WHAT IT OFFERS: Kids can get wild about math or dive into wacky science. They can create using LEGO WeDo and Mindstorms technology or STEAM camps like Stop-Motion Movie Making and Garden Gloves to Reading Bugs.
ITS FOCUS: Math, science, robotics, and STEAM.
ITS REACH: Students in PreK–middle school.
Fort Valley State University’s Summer Kids University STEM/STEAM program
WHAT IT OFFERS: Courses in robotics, math, science, visual & performing arts, and other stimulating subjects.
ITS FOCUS: An enriching STEM/STEAM curriculum.
ITS REACH: Grades 1–8 from May 30–July 28 at the FVSU Warner Robins Center.
Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation STEAM-filled Summer
WHAT IT OFFERS: Summer camp June 5–July 14.
ITS FOCUS: STEAM-focused field trips and cultural enrichment opportunities.
ITS REACH: Bibb and surrounding counties.
MAS Super Science Saturdays and Scien-Terrific Tuesdays and Cosmic Thursdays
WHAT IT OFFERS: Hands-on STEAM activities FREE with Museum of Arts & Sciences admission from June 1–July 30. Super Science Saturdays 11:00 a.m.–4 p.m.; Scien-Terrific Tuesdays and Cosmic Thursdays 1:00–4 p.m.
ITS FOCUS: Activities and speakers exploring areas of science, including space, sun, ocean, and sharks.
ITS REACH: Any visitor to the Museum during designated hours.
Museum of Aviation’s Annual Young Astronauts’ Day
WHAT IT OFFERS: A full day of hands-on STEM workshops for grades 1–8, Saturday, May 6. Rigorous goal-setting experiences challenge students to solve problems.
ITS FOCUS: Students choose a ‘Flight’ to travel based on their appropriate grade level and participate in three workshops throughout that ‘Flight’.
ITS REACH: Nearly 300 students from all across the state of Georgia.
Real I.M.P.A.C.T’s Girl Power STEM Camp (GPSC)
WHAT IT OFFERS: Four themed weeks of STEMtastic fun. Girls can be engaged in building an App, forensic science, STEM Fashion (wearable technology), and robotics.
ITS FOCUS: GPSC allows girls to join other like-minded girls to explore STEM in a fun and informal environment. It equips girls with STEM skills that may result in a Real IMPACT in STEM as they become women.
ITS REACH: All girls, rising grades 3–8, in Central Georgia.
St. Peter Claver Catholic School’s Camp Cougar
WHAT IT OFFERS: Mad Science with hands-on learning in chemistry, potions, and biology. iKid University that includes fundamentals of technology and design-thinking methodology such as coding, engineering, and testing products.
ITS FOCUS: Enrichment in STEM.
ITS REACH: Current SPCCS students, rising K4–8 and non-SPCCS students, K4–5.
Spectacles Math and Science Residential Camp
WHAT IT OFFERS: Middle-school girls the opportunity to see science and math in new ways.
ITS FOCUS: Field trips, experiments, lab projects, computers, meeting with women with math and science careers.
ITS REACH: Middle school girls from around the world.
Cirrus Academy’s STEAM Summer Enrichment Camp
WHAT IT OFFERS: Camp activities include exciting hands-on STEAM curriculum, academic enrichment, field trips, and opportunities to interact with successful STEAM professionals.
ITS FOCUS: Cirrus Academy is a science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM)-focused school.
ITS REACH: Bibb county students.
Warner Robins Recreation Department’s STEM Projects
WHAT IT OFFERS: Indoor/outdoor activities, fitness/nutrition sessions, and basic age-appropriate STEM projects.
ITS FOCUS: Provides a fun, safe, and educational atmosphere for children and parents.
ITS REACH: Houston county kids, ages 5–12. #
Courtesy of Change the Equation