STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow

by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow
STEAM Ahead - Preparing our kids for tomorrow

On behalf of the children and youth we serve, thank you for your continued support to STEAM Ahead. The feedback to this program continues to be positive and is among our most popular programs. We recently sent a call for applications to this year’s round of funding and were amazed with the great interest that Clubs continue to have with the program. For the 2017-2018 school year, 13 Clubs covering six provinces and the Yukon will receive STEAM Ahead grants. A few of these Clubs are either in rural or remote locations where access to STEM-related programs is limited or non-existent so running this program at these Clubs is a fantastic way for their exposure to STEM education.

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STEAM Ahead program
STEAM Ahead program

Thank you for your generous support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC)!

Our STEAM Ahead program, supported by Fidelity Investments, continues to be offered at 11 Clubs across the country.  As part of the grant, recipient Clubs received the STEAM Ahead program manual and accompanying engineering kits to support program delivery. Feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive and is meeting a great need among the children and youth we serve.  In addition, the program is in high demand and Clubs report high levels of participant engagement.

Below is a testimonial on the positive impact of STEAM Ahead:

“It made me think about being an engineer.  A builder.”

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STEAM Ahead program at the Edmonton Club
STEAM Ahead program at the Edmonton Club

Thank you for your continued support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC)!

BGCC has developed STEAM Ahead to address the growing research into the needs and desires of children and youth as they pertain to the areas of science, technology, engineering and math – we’ve added the “A” to also include the arts! Engineering materials were created by the Children’s Technology Workshop, and form a series of activities/workshops which will allow children and youth to be creative with technology and develop their understanding of key concepts in science, engineering and game-making.

The program has been delivered by 15 Boys and Girls Clubs in diverse communities across Canada.  By the end of 2016, more than 500 children and youth participated in STEAM Ahead.  In January 2017, 11 new Clubs were selected to receive STEAM Ahead grants and deliver the program to children and youth in their communities.

STEAM Ahead continues to be in high demand at Clubs across Canada. We are excited to be able to offer it again this year, thanks to Fidelity Investments generous support.

We look forward to sharing additional updates with you in the future.

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Investigating the science of play
Investigating the science of play

Thank you so much for supporting Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada! 

This support is important because we are increasingly realizing that a background in STEM-related programming is crucial for education, employment and career advancement. Your help enables us to offer STEAM Ahead in diverse communities across Canada.  STEAM Ahead includes alternative extracurricular opportunities for children and youth to engage in STEM-related programming and activities.

We are pleased to share with you a story about STEAM Ahead from the Charlotte County Club in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

We would like to take this time to wish you a very happy holiday season.

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Investigating the science of play

The next Alexander Graham Bell or Roberta Bondar may be busy at play at your local Boys and Girls Club.

The spark that inspires a child to think both scientifically and creatively is what fuels the STEAM Ahead program, sponsored by Fidelity Investments in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Geared towards 7 to 13 year olds, the program promotes hands-on and experiential STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning that’s both fun and inspiring.

For the kids at Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte County in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, it means rolling up their sleeves to build simple machines using engineering principles like levers, pulleys, reciprocating motion, kinetic energy,and projectiles.

“The program is broken down into 12 different projects,” says Ashley Hamilton, Charlotte County’s Outreach Coordinator. “Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada sends us kits so that the kids can build something new every week. It’s cool because they get to use things like screwdrivers and wire clamps and other tools they are not usually exposed to.”

Using the STEAM Ahead manual, facilitators provide a background story and demonstration to introduce the activity, and then encourage young people to solve the problem through discussions and brainstorming.

To engage different learning styles, the program mixes visual, auditory, and hands-on activities. And once the project is complete, bonus activities motivate participants to put their new knowledge to the test using everyday objects.

What is especially gratifying for Club staff is that the program attracts both boys and girls, which helps to break down commonly-held stereotypes.

“It’s great to see the kids get involved,” notes Ashley. “Sometimes we even see the younger kids teaching the older ones, if they happen to have a good engineering eye for the task at hand.”

Most importantly, the projects are a hit with the participants.

“The kids love them all,” says Ashley. “They built a zip-line racer, another one called ‘Unicycle Art,’ which is a little clown on a unicycle, and a wooden launcher.”

“They had a lot of fun launching things,” she says with a laugh, “but they also learned about physics, which is wonderful.”

With clowns on unicycles, helicopters, and projectiles flying about, parents who visit the Club might wonder about the learning taking place. However, Ashley says that definitely isn’t the case.

“We did a survey at the end of the latest session and some of the comments from the parents were that they loved the diversity of the program and that we are showing kids the science behind toys.”

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STEAM Ahead participants at a Boys and Girls Club
STEAM Ahead participants at a Boys and Girls Club

Thank you for supporting Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada!

Numerous research studies indicate that many jobs in the 21st century will be heavily focused in the STEM areas and that there is a strong need to equip children and youth with the necessary skills to qualify and succeed in these jobs.  STEAM Ahead is Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada’s response to this growth area.  The overall goal of STEAM Ahead is to help provide children and youth with the resources to introduce, enhance and expand their skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math.

The pilot project that we did in 2014 – 2015 taught us a lot of things that we have been implementing as we continue to roll out the program.  One of our main learnings from the pilot included the development of STEAM Ahead Program Manual for staff.  We’re pleased to update that the manual has been finalized and is now available to Clubs running STEAM Ahead in both English and French.  The manual is geared at Club staff and provides a comprehensive resource that can be used to support program preparation, delivery and learning extensions. 

We’re also pleased to update that 11 Clubs received grants to run STEAM Ahead during the calendar year.  We look forward to sharing program updates with our next report.

Please see below link to a Huffington Post article which examines the need to invest in STEM education as a way to help Canada’s future economy – and to acquire and keep in-demand jobs in the 21st century.      

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/mark-lievonen/stem-education_b_5584619.html

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Organization Information

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Website:
Project Leader:
Bernadette Arreola
Toronto, Ontario Canada

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