S.T.E.M. at El Camino
By: Bryan L., staff writer
Did you go to the STEM Conference at El Camino in January? The STEM Conference was for middle school students and was a one day event to inspire students to see how interesting and fun math and science can be.
El Camino Community College actually has a lot of STEM programs for young students. One is the STEM Young Scholars Summer Program for high schoolers, which is a free four week program offering presentations, field trips, activities, workshops, and guest speakers from related science, technology, engineering, and math fields.
The one day annual January conference for middle schoolers is part of “The El Camino College STEM Project” and“Upper Hand to College”, and both aim to increase the participation, retention, and advancement of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)”.
On Saturday, January 31st, I attended the STEM conference at the El Camino bookstore building. Students, grades 5-9, experienced a fun, inspiring, and motivational day of “empowerment”. We engaged in hands-on STEM related activities and seminars, met and connected with STEM role models (people working in STEM careers), and we became aware of the wide variety of career opportunities in STEM.
The student workshops we attended included:
Hot Air Balloon Design
Fun, Science & Root Beer
Engineering Design Challenge
Parents were invited to join our parent workshop “From Student to Scientist: Paving the Way.” This workshop provided best practices for helping students transition from middle school to high school and prepare for a career in STEM.
We listened to a scientist who examined evidence to find out who did what crime, such as murder and stealing. She told us about the ways they solve the crime cases. We then had a raffle of two prizes like gift cards and college clothes.
We then went to our first activities, mine being the cool idea of making a ball made of borax and glue. There was one activity that I wished I could do: they show how to make our own root beer.
After our first activity, we had another raffle and then had lunch. We then went to our second activity, which was our choice. I participated in a competition of engineering: protecting as much water in the cup as possible. We then got prize of our choice. After that activity, we did a survey to see what we enjoyed and what they should improve on.
I would say that this was a great experience, since we learned new things while having fun. This is a great event to come back to if you are in the 5th through 9th grade. Come next year to the second floor of the bookstore, but you’ll need to sign up first on El Camino’s website. There is an admission of $10.00, but it’s worth it.
Come next year to see what they have to offer!