Youth participated in a virtual STEM workshop and learned how astronauts filtered water!
STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, describes an education policy within school curriculums that place these subjects at its core. While humanities subjects such as social studies and English teach students the soft skills they need to succeed, STEM subjects teach students the analytical tools they need while simultaneously building confidence and self-determination within themselves. sySTEMic flow has worked hard to implement a STEM-focused experimental curriculum through the EDEN virtual program. Due to COVID-19, only one online session took place this year over 90 minutes with a great turnout of five seventh to tenth-grade students.
The students began with an icebreaker where each person introduced themselves and their favorite drink to the class. Then, they learned about NASA's anti-pollution initiatives as well as the science behind NASA's engineering feats. In particular, the students studied how NASA uses chemistry, biology, and physics to engineering an advanced water filtration system to use both on Earth and in space. They then experimented with water bottles and several filter materials (rocks, activated charcoal, coffee filters, etc.) to simulate the NASA water filtration system! Each student possessed their STEM kits with all necessary materials and a worksheet with the lesson, procedure, and reflection questions. After reflection, not only did the students express interest in the scientific principles used during the experiment, they also learned to connect STEM subjects with future careers that require real-life applications of these skills. While one learned how astronauts filter their water, another student commented on the hydrophobic properties of charcoal. Both learned new things that piqued their interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Words from Jehu Leconte - Executive Director, EDEN
Homelessness and poverty can make it difficult and almost impossible to have the right resources for proper growth. When STEM becomes an unattainable luxury, many things can go wrong, from adequate education to housing and the environment. It's no wonder children living in shelters or poverty face impaired health and cognitive child development. Deprivation increases the likelihood of limited brain and cognitive development. These vulnerable children also have higher chances of growing around pollutants which is equally bad for physical and psychological development. The reality is that young students want to learn and engage with society through STEM on a higher level.
Therefore, EDEN collaborated with sySTEMic Flow to provide our youth with a STEM-focused virtual program while learning exciting new things. Our youth was overwhelmed with joy and awe. The sySTEMic Flow team did an excellent job gathering and delivering the tools to our youth, and building rapport with the youth's parents was a dream come true. Thanks to the sySTEMic Flow team, you have sparked our youth's brain that will change the world.
About sySTEMic flow
sySTEMic flow aims to deliver educational opportunities to BIPOC students, mainly focusing on providing STEM education to BIPOC girls, to enhance their math knowledge and skills. Since 2019, the sySTEMic flow has engaged with 88 students in several of its programs and worked with 11 community partners to effectively deliver these programs. This work has expanded in four states, two countries (including the U.S.), and ten cities/towns. sySTEMic flow's holistic model goes beyond the classroom setting and invites socioemotional learning and opportunities to learn about various careers in the STEM industry.