This summer, Communities in Schools (CIS) of Delaware, in partnership with Milford Central Academy (MCA), held the STEAM Academy, focusing on providing students with academic enrichment. The STEAM Academy introduced students to hands-on experiences with Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics through the studies of Legos, Roller Coasters, Theatre, and Astronomy.
During the last week of the program, sixth through eighth grade students learned about the inner and outer planets in the solar system, the asteroid belt and other celestial bodies. Students developed a model of the solar system to scale, representing the great distances between planets and held experiments to demonstrate how asteroids can effect planetary sustainability.
“Creating the solar system model outside to scale allowed the students to understand how massive it really is,” commented MCA teacher Nicole Pavlik. “A lot of these kids are visual learners so it is important for them to experience what they are learning instead of just reading from a book.”
Giving students a visual representation of their lessons, CIS engaged students with a unique opportunity to learn among the stars as they were introduced to STARLAB. STARLAB is an inflattable, portable planetarium complete with a cylinder projector that depicts the night sky, galaxy, and constellations. The scientific instrument diplayed the changing motions of the sun, moon and planets, as it illustrated an entire year of activity over a matter of minutes. The STARLAB was purchased for educational programs by Communities In Schools of Delaware through a Delaware Department of Education’s 21st CCLC subgrant. CISDelaware chose the purchase of a STARLAB portable planetarium as a supplemental, hands-on teaching tool.
“STARLAB is very hands-on and keeps them moving and excited about learning,” commented Lakisha Love Wingard of Communities In Schools. “We as educators must learn to catch up with students’ technology in order to keep them engaged.”
In additions to the STEAM Academy, the STARLAB will be used during the 2104-2015 academic year at both the Milford Central Academy and the Milford High School. Every 21st CCLC after school class will use it for one week regarding astronomy lessons and one week for geography lessons as a math and science common core aid. During the school year, there will be an all school assembly for every science class to use it one day.
The current summer component, CIS MCA Academy and CIS MHS Academy, of Milford’s 21st CCLC program is organized as a summer previewing program. Communities In Schools will continue to serve the Milford School District this fall as comprehensive class and after-school programs will resume for the forth year. MCA and MHS students will be selected to participate in the program, which aims to support students by involvement in their academic and social lives.
“There has been much success with this program, most notably increased student preparation for the upcoming school year and increased student knowledge retention,” stated Wingard. “In addition to STEAM concepts, inclusion of camaraderie, community collaboration, and arts appreciation have been identified by building and district administration.”