MIT has long been a global leader in STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics — education, driving innovation not only in the fields themselves but also in the ways it gets designed and delivered. Learning, of course, doesn’t just happen on campus or in a classroom setting. This summer, the MIT pK-12 Action Group, in collaboration with the Chinese International School (CIS) in Hong Kong, held its second annual MIT STEAM camp, bringing faculty, staff, and students together with just over 200 middle-school aged students and 30 teachers from the area for two weeks of hands-on learning.
The theme of this summer’s MIT STEAM Camp was “Into The Water,” drawing inspiration from the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The six learning modules used in the program were developed by groups across MIT’s campus. The Edgerton Center, for instance, helped develop “Engineering with Water,” while an alumna of the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanograpic Institute Joint Program and MIT employee developed “Algae in our backyard: An ArtScience Exploration.” Other modules included observing small ocean crustaceans, understanding the effects of ocean acidification, and programming an EEG-driven “boat” (with Lego WeDo motors inside) that navigated around giant beach balls. Students also experimented and played with Scratch and other peripherals as an introduction to playful learning.
Participating campers then took these learning modules a step further, working collaboratively and applying the knowledge and skills they acquired to designing and building innovative projects. By the end of the two-week camp, students built projects ranging from board games to portable microscope projectors to two-tier structures that generated electricity through a dam.
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