Last weekend, Lafferre Hall played host to 120+ students for the third edition of STEM Cubs, the free engineering day camp that illustrates the importance of exploratory and experiential learning in science, technology, engineering and math for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
The event is a collaboration between the College of Engineering, College of Education, and the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity’s Access and Leadership Development Unit. Additional sponsorship was provided by the Construction Specification Institute and MU Extension.
The 120+ students marked the highest attendance at a STEM Cubs event to date, with more than 200 applications to participate. A total of 16 volunteers from Engineering and Education helped the event run smoothly.
“It is important to note that STEM Cubs is addressing a significant issue within elementary education, that children from marginalized groups based on class, gender and ethnicity are underrepresented in terms of access and participation in STEM programming” said Alyssa Liles-Amponsah, associate director of K-12 Programming and Education Equity from the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity.
The program provides a high-quality learning experience by employing a highly qualified diverse staff of volunteers and instructors. For example, the May STEM Cubs activities were recently led by David Aguayo and other doctoral candidates in Mizzou’s Education Leadership and Policy program, Ransford Pinto and Kristofferson Culmer. STEM Cubs assesses and evaluates student experiences, as well as parents and staff. The program is directly addressing the issue of access in regard to Title 1 schools in Columbia and the community. Most importantly, students are having fun while learning about engineering in an exciting exploratory way.
The students took part in several activities intended to build skills and interest in several scientific concepts. They explored the world of civil engineering by building and testing the load-bearing capabilities of bridges, and they learned more about chemical and biomedical engineering by learning about a variety of coatings for drug release.
Older students had the opportunity to use a 3D printer provided by the College of Education led by another student volunteer, Alex Cavalco. Students were able to make and take-home keychain replicas of Mizzou’s famous columns. Younger students, meanwhile, learned more about buoyancy by testing how well oranges float, and they had the opportunity to experiment with static electricity.
“We are excited to see the growth for STEM Cubs and confirm the clear demand for STEM activities for elementary students. Being able to engage students this early is crucial to creating future Mizzou Engineers spanning all backgrounds.” Tojan Rahhal, Director of Diversity and Outreach Initiatives in the College of Engineering, said.
For more information about STEM Cubs or to register your child to participate in a future event, visit our website.