spen Science Center is expanding from our historical event-based activities to a more programmatic approach, meaning working with the same students over time under a set curriculum. Events will remain important as a way to get people interested in and excited by science, but the programmatic approach will provide more sustained and deeper results. It is also a better way to promote the critical reasoning and creativity that are critical to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).
We have the basis for such programs in our existing High School Internship program, and are currently developing a Preschool Education Program. The goal is to get kids interested in science while they are young with this program, and expand the programming up the grades to ”keep ahead” of them and support the next generation of scientists and educators from a young age onward. The Internship program will expand over time to be year-round, with more interns, who are more actively engaged in year-round program delivery and more in-depth research projects.
With preschool and kindergarten we will deliver our programing in the classroom, which is possible because much of the day is unstructured play time. For grades 1-12, where class time is more structured and less accessible to outside organizations, we plan to create store-front Discovery Centers in the valley to delivery this programming.
These Discovery Centers will be places where kids of all ages can come after school and on weekends to explore science and STEM subjects with hands-on demonstrations, activities and student-led group and individual projects. Robotics, virtual reality, computer programming, 3D printing, mobile app development are just some of the topics that we will explore. We will also have tutoring and other academic support programs, and host field trips from local schools.
This program is currently in development. We are working on the details and raising the money to bring it to life!