STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)is leading educational offerings across the nation. As shared on Forbes.com, according to President Obama in 2012, over the next decade one million additional STEM graduates will be needed. As such, BGCGW is joining the efforts of Boys & Girls Clubs of America to put our members at the forefront of STEM education. What makes our STEM programming different? We infuse the arts into STEM, making it STEAM. We had a few minutes to chat with our Regional Arts Director, Tony Small about this year’s programming. Find out how “BGCGW is running on STEAM”.
BGCGW: Why is STEAM so important to our youth?
Tony Small: Integrating the arts into Boys & Girls Club’s core areas is a powerful way to make learning fun and more meaningful. Consider that in DC we are experiencing the highest national high school dropout rate; teens who do graduate lag 3-4 years behind in academic test scores – especially in STEM fields. Infusing the arts through STEAM using a thematic approach allows Boys & Girls Club staff to:
- Combine BGCA core areas of learning into one topic area
- Utilize and implement thematic approaches
- Demystify tough subject matter and advanced vocabulary words
- Improve retention and topic conceptualization
- Encourage youth to think rather than memorize
- Allow participants to be more creative and resourceful
- Help participants to enjoy learning and thus promote life-long learning
BGCGW: What makes this year’s STEAM programming so unique?
TS: We believe that BGCGW,through our original monthly STEM thematic units, is leading the way in seamless integration of Arts + STEM = STEAM in the Boys & Girls Club movement nationwide. We’ve also developed a 5-Step pedagogy, training staff in best practices and hands-on activities that reinforce our 5 core areas of youth development.
BGCGW’s Arts + STEM = STEAM CURRICULUM FACTS:
- It aligns with national & state standards
- Exceeds standards grades K-5 grade
- Enhances standards grades 6-8 grades
- Enforces standards grades 9-12 grade
- It has increased test scores, altered attitudes and increased aptitudes in STEM
- It has been vetted in an American Association for the Advancement of Science pilot
- It demystifies beyond grade level vocabulary and STEM content
- It is an INTENTIONAL daily/weekly Lesson Plan and 12 month template
- It involves Best Practices in inquiry-based STEM
BGCGW: What are a few program highlights our youth can look forward to?
TS: We are especially excited about piloting our original STEAM curricula including: In The Mix (The Science & Math of Sound), Building Tomorrow Today (Architecture, Art & Simple Machines), Weather Or Not (Meteorology & Climate), The Me Nobody Knows (Genetics & Human Biology), Guilty Or Not (Criminology, Forensics & Cryptology), Earth, Wind & Fire (Natural Phenomenon & Earth Sciences), Shine Through (Psychology & Astronomy), American Noiz (Physics of Sound, Engineering & Music Anatomy), Planting The Future (Botany, Horticulture and Mycology), What’s Bugging You (Entomology, Ecology & Taxonomy), Sports From A Different Angle (Anatomy, Biology & Nutrition), Bank On It (Token Economy, Economics, Money Matters & Club Bank) and Endangered (Zoology & Endangered Species).
We are also excited about the introduction of the Zirkin Club Tech program and our new STEAM Educator, who is an Architect Engineer and musician. This allows us to develop state of the art technology — specifically in 3-D modeling & imaging, utilization of iPad’s for music and digital sound creation (producing, arranging and orchestration) through Garage Band software, cinematography, video game design, cartooning, Photoshop, Sketchbook, digital photography, the chemistry of colors, physics & photography, sine and cosine wave art, architecture & design programs.
We are extremely proud of our STEAM programming! The best is yet to come!