This past May, Inti introduced a STEM-enrichment program through a partnership with the SEE Science Center of Manchester. We brought hands-on science projects for the children to work on for about an hour each week. These projects were designed to spark the children's early interest STEM fields of study, an area of increasing importance for today's students (and, unfortunately, one that Inti's participants tend to lack access to).
The program consisted of four installments of different hands-on activities. In keeping with the "scientific theme" of the program, students were given a wide latitude to discover their own solutions to the challenges provided. In addition to encouraging critical thinking skills, the children were separated into teams, encouraging collaboration and the development of teamwork skills.
The first day was the "Magnet Marble Race." In this task, the children were separated into four teams to create a course for a marble to travel on, with the slowest course winning.
A week after the Magnet Marble Race was the Vortex Cannon activity. In this session, teams built their own air "cannons" using plastic buckets.
Our third session gave the children a chance to build cars out of the SEE Science Center's Legos. These cars raced down a ramp, with the fastest car being declared the winner.
The final session differed from the other three activities in that it was not project based. Rather, the SEE Science Center's staff performed a quick demonstration on combustion then allowed the students to perform a vinegar and baking soda reaction and a make-your-own-silly-putty lab.
After the academic program's summer break long hiatus, program director Jaime Pendleton looks forward to continuing Inti's partnership with the SEE Science Center. The SEE Science Center has a plethora of resources available to bring to the children. Additionally, due to the SEE Science Center's close proximity to Inti, the possibility of bringing the children to the museum itself is one that we hope to explore in the coming year. It is our hope that this kind of early exposure to STEM, aided by the fun ambiance created by friends and challenges, will encourage Inti's students to become more interested in STEM fields during high school in preparation for college and beyond.