Free One-Day STEM Camp Inspires Students to Pursue Learning and Discovery | Central Missouri News

COLUMBIA – STEM Cubs, a free, one-day camp open to local elementary and middle school students, is designed to inspire students to enjoy science, learning, and discovery.

“In one sentence, I would say that the goal of STEM clubs is to make STEM engagement and learning fun for any child of any level and age,” said Jenn Brown, Director of Access Initiatives and outreach from the University of Missouri.

The program comes as concerns grow over pandemic-related education losses. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, fourth and eighth graders in Missouri have seen a “significant decline” in math and reading scores on state tests since 2019. This reflects a national trend – math scores saw their biggest drop on record, and reading scores fell to 1992 levels.

While Brown can’t say for sure if the STEM Cubs program will help students get back on track, she said she hopes the camp will make a difference.

“I really hope the impact is that we increase opportunities for K-8 students to continue to engage in STEM and continue to find enrichment activities and opportunities to learn. “Brown said. “I don’t have any statistical information that would say we are closing the gap. But I hope our programming will impact where students are now and where they continue to go as the school year progresses.

Student volunteer Strider Bono said he signed up for the program to help inspire the next generation of scientists. He hopes the program will also teach critical thinking, a skill he says has been lost during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, I think a lot of critical thinking skills went down when they started teaching on Zoom,” Bono said. “I know for me, I was in high school when the pandemic hit, so we didn’t have to think so much, we could just google all the answers. So we couldn’t think critically. That’s what it [program] Is. This allows you to think on the fly.

Student volunteer Kendall Feist said students’ exposure to STEM-related fields is invaluable.

“A lot of kids, especially younger ones, don’t hear about engineering until they’re older,” Feist said. “Introducing them to engineering at a younger age… will hopefully inspire them to go to college to [engineering]or get involved with it in high school.

Feist said he wished he had similar opportunities when he was in elementary school.

“The closest thing I had [to this] it was when I was in high school,” Feist said. “We had robotics. But, I know a lot of schools don’t even have that… I really wish I could have done stuff like that in elementary school.

Brown said the rewarding aspect of the program makes coordinating it interesting.

“It’s one of my favorite programs,” Brown said. “Seeing kindergartners, really excited about astronomy or strands of DNA, or even being able to say the word ‘double helix’ and kind of know what they’re talking about, is probably one of the most exciting things for me.”

She also said the program has benefits beyond educating students in STEM fields.

“It’s also very exciting, not just because they’re coming to do a STEM program, but because they feel comfortable in college,” Brown said. “They feel at home here.”

The next event will take place in the spring. Brown suggests parents apply four to six weeks before the program date.

About Armand Downs

Check Also

Week in Review: Insilico Signs Six AI-Drug Discovery Deal with Sanofi Worth Up to $1.2 Billion

jittawit.21 Offers and financing Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong and New York-based AI drug discovery …