Brainiacs Weekend STEM Sessions – Week 3

water cycle

The week we entered the scientific part of STEM. We started the classes today with STEM moments and had a discussion with the kids about the Water Cycle.

From the STEM moment, we moved to Scratch. This week, we created the Brain Game in Scratch. Brain Game is a simple game for the times table. Before the class started, we had developed the algorithms for them (let’s be fair, they are kids from ages 5 up). The task was to get them to figure out the commands that would ensure that their algorithm was executed as a computer program in Scratch.

That’s why I love the Saturday classes. They are smaller in size and allow for better interaction between the kids and the instructors. They are stressful but the impact is much greater.

Next week most schools in Nigeria will be going on holiday. As a company we are getting ready for the long holiday. Our summer camp will be starting on the 18th of this month. You can find more details from our flyer below:

Brainiacs

Brainiacs Weekend STEM Sessions – Week 2

Brainiacs

Welcome to a new week. With the 3 days extended holiday, we are finally in the shadow of the summer holidays. At work we have been planning our summer camp and now I am glad to announce that all is now set for our summer camp 10 days from now. The flyers are now ready so you can get in touch.

The Brainiacs Weekend STEM Session for last week was interesting. The older kids were taught Kodu and LittleBits while the younger kids learnt TurtleArt and LittleBits.

Kodu is a programming environment from Microsoft designed to teach kids how to program games using a visual programming environment.

LittleBits is a fun way to teach kids electronics without needing to solder or program. It uses magnetic blocks to create a circuit.

Teaching the kids Kodu was interesting as I got to learn how not to underestimate the creativity of the students to find their own solution to a problem even if it was a deviation from the standardized solution.

It was a learning experience for me. I must admit that today the tools that the kids are exposed to makes them digital natives.  The imagination and creativity they brought to the class exceeded anything I could give them.

At the end of the class, I left excited about what the kids could achieve. Today, the tools are available to arm kids with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century.

Brainiacs Weekend STEM Sessions – Week 1

Brainiacs STEM Weekend Sessions

Today at work, we started an 8 weeks STEM class for kids ages 5 to 16. Classes started at 11 am and ended at 3 pm. At the end of the day I am tired but I had fun.

Why STEM? it is amazing that I spent years in school wondering the point of all the books I was reading. With STEM, there is no point in wondering as the concepts come to life by themselves.

The kids in the picture above created their own robot using the LEGO Educator Kit once the assembly was done, the kids got to program their robot and learn mathematics in the process. We used the LEGO Educator Kit to calculate the distance travelled by the robot when we know speed and the time it move for.

The formula for this is Speed = Distance / Time

You would agree with me that using this method, the kids would remember what we did. The Learning Tetrahedron is shown below:

The Learning Tetrahedron

In a STEM session, the mental and physical components are visible exercised. The kids above assembled the robot following a sequence of steps. The spiritual and emotional components are exercised by us insisting on cooperation and correcting the mistakes the made.

With schools still teaching how to connect a circuit in Introductory Technology, the case for STEM is strong in Nigeria. The truth is our current educational system is failing the country and if kids are to be motivated in technology, a new approach is needed.

So I mentioned 5 – 16. So what did the younger ones do? You can see that below:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The kids learned how to assemble and program the LEGO WeDo which is a robot for kids 5 – 10 years of age. I was surprised that the 5 year old kid in the group was interested and engaged in what we are doing.

Brainiacs STEM and Robotics will continue the weekend sessions for the next 7 weeks. Summer is coming soon so we have to prepare. From this tired educator, have a great week.