The U.S. falls embarrassingly behind when it comes to STEM education, which encompasses science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Many students are turned off by the subject of science early on, finding it irrelevant to real world issues, unapproachable and inaccessible. Recent grants from the National Science Foundation and the Gates Foundation are attempting to support STEM education. And Education Week recently mentioned a new program that sends science teachers to Costa Rica for training in environmental conservation in hopes they’ll bring findings back to the classroom that will inspire students.
But what about a more immediate, hands-on way to get students pumped about science? Tech Trek aims to do just that. It is a summer camp for girls between seventh and eighth grade that offers hands-on exploration of math and science. Put on by AAUW, the goals of Tech Trek are aimed to inspire women, who traditionally are less likely to major in STEM subjects in college. Tech Trek hopes to:
…encourage a diverse group of young women to take math and science courses
throughout high school; to motivate students to attend college and to inspire young
women to consider STEM careers.
At Tech Trek, campers get more hands-on access to STEM subjects with experiments, activities, projects and field trips. Teachers and other professional lead classes during a week-long camp held at various colleges, such as Stanford, Davis, and UC San Diego. The young girls are opened up to a world beyond the textbook – past classes have had campers building spaghetti bridges, analyzing the chemical makeup in a McDonalds happy meal, and studying DNA samples in a forensics lesson.
What if the classroom were more like camp – letting students explore, get dirty and dig a bit deeper into subjects like math and science. Bringing more hands-on, interactive learning experience to the classroom could make material in the textbook spring to life.
Camp classrooms sound kind of awesome but don’t be too jealous of the kids – TriplePoint is organizing a camp (of sorts) for adults – more specifically, people interested in education technology. It will bring entrepreneurs, innovators and experts in the field together for an after work mixer to discuss what’s next in learning technology. Details are still being finalized but mark your calendars tentatively for March/April and we’ll share more soon. (If you’re interested in participating, speaking, sponsoring or attending with a large group, please contact me at mgerth (at) triplepointpr (dot) com!