Our Out-of-School Time (OST) programs are offered at convenient times for parents including weekends and during winter, spring and summer breaks.
We offer the following modules that encourage observation, foster critical thinking, develop solving-problem skills, instill confidence, encourage working in groups, and expose students to careers in STEM fields. Except where noted, modules last one week:
Introduction to Engineering
This module is designed to tap into children’s inherent ability to explore how things work. The module was developed by youth—one of our middle-school volunteers—for youth. The activities include constructing a hologram; building an electronic car by soldering electronic components on a motherboard; constructing a makeshift robotic hand; designing, constructing and testing a bridge; building a wood tool box; and experiencing gravity and wind dynamics by participating in an indoor skydiving adventure at iFly.
Heart and Brain Anatomy and Physiology
In this module, students learn the rudiments of heart and brain function including how to identify their major parts. They also listen to each other’s’ hearts using a stethoscope. Students incorporate visual arts by diagraming cardiac muscles of the heart and by creating a model of the brain made of clay. Students also learn through mnemonic devices like songs, stories and original brain teasers. Finally, students don medical regalia to dissect a heart and a brain.
Here, students learn about the effects pollutants in our environment and what they can do improve the environment. They mimic the effects of acid rain in the lab, learn and demonstrate the process of purifying murky water, and test the pH of water. They also observe water from different sources using microscopes. Students learn the importance of solar energy and produce solar ovens and machines; use plants to produce natural dies to make original tie-dye T-shirts; and use recyclable materials to make home-made paper. Through these creative activities, children develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the historical relevance of conservation.
Discovering Central Dogma
The DNA module exposes children to the discovery of DNA where they will learn about replication, transcription, and translation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein synthesis (known as central dogma). Activities include constructing helix models of DNA; creating translational codes using their names; discovering the three components of a DNA molecule; making sugar from fresh sugar cane; and extracting DNA from fruit. This is the stuff of real discovery science.
In this module, children learn about plant and animal cells and how they tie into genetics. Children learn about the normal function and dysfunction of cells and learn about protein markers that identify cancer cells. Through interactive activities, children learn the causes and functions of cancer cells and how they spread. Children also have the opportunity to observe cells through the proper use and handling of microscopes. Finally, children learn the value of genetics and how science is used to mitigate and cure cancer. Future scientists are in the making here.
Here, children discover the incredible power of sound beyond earbuds. In this module, students learn about sound and vibrations. Students develop an understanding of wave lengths of sound and vibrations. They also learn several mechanisms of developing sound instruments in the air and under water. Activities include making a stethoscope, a makeshift noise maker, and a device that extinguishes flames using, guess what . . . sound!
This module explores the history, function and proper use of the microscope. Students visualize and draw various objects they observe under the microscope like creepy critters, and human and plant tissues. Children also learn about light, reflection, refraction, and wavelengths through a series of interactive learning activities. Children develop a deeper understanding of the role that microscopes play in advancing science and technology. They actually “see” more than what’s on their tablets and cell phones.
In this module, children learn the basics of chemistry. They develop an understanding of pH and make their own pH paper and solutions. Through discovery learning, students use different house hold items to realize their affects when combined (chemical reactions). Additionally, children learn the concept of and perform experiments related to oxidation and reduction, producing mixtures and solutions, noting differences in chemical and physical properties.
One of our newest modules include aerodynamics and aeronautics. This module is designed to expose children to wind dynamic, physics, and air-flight. In this module, students learn about the physics associated with wind, gravity, friction, and aeronautics. Activities include in-class instruction; ground flight simulation experience; and, for some, a co-piloting experience, taking the yoke of a Cessna, in-flight, alongside the safety of an experienced, licensed pilot.
Promoting Water Environmental Stewardship
This module is designed to inform students on becoming ambassadors of the environment, particularly related to water use and harnessing storm water runoff. Here, students learn the value of water by measuring its purity, sampling water from various sources and filtering samples through water filters that they build. They also learn the value of water conservation. Moreover, children design and construct a rainwater garden complete with topology planning, plant life cultivation, and collecting water in a rain barrel, clad in students’ original artwork. Children also participate in communicating responsible water usage to the broader community utilizing a variety of means.
A Note on Safety
All program modules are designed with the most rigorous and age-appropriate safety measures in mind, adhering to established state and scientific safety protocols. We take care in making sure that children are in safe hands mentally, emotionally and physically. Our educators and volunteers are well vetted. We respect all religions, races/ethnicities and do not discriminate based on individual beliefs or disabilities, consistent with anti-discrimination laws of the state.
The Basics Offered in all Modules
Basic to curricula/modules mentioned above include:
- instruction in safety practices;
- exposure to subject specific career options;
- expert guest speakers and volunteer instructors, when available;
- manipulatives including arts and crafts;
- physical activities (at least ½ hour) during course breaks;
- ½ hour lunch break (lunch provided by parents);
- arts activities including visual, media, and literary;
- subject matter experiential activities (e.g., indoor skydiving, community gardening, field trips, constructing/building items, etc.) when feasible;
- learning the scientific method and scientific notetaking; and
- pre- and post-testing to measure skills/knowledge gain.
Want more details?
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