Pilot STEM Intensive Programs 2012
The Reach Center works with groups of students who share a passion for STEM.
In 2012, we pilot-tested three separate “STEM Intensive” programs, two for middle school (grades 6-8 during the 2012-2013 school year) and one for high school (grades 10-12 during the 2012-2013 school year). During this pilot year, each cohort was also limited to a specific geographic area within Maine to facilitate in-person gathering during the year.
The following are general characteristics of all of these year-long out-of-school experiences developed by the Reach Center:
- We built prototypes in order to test what works and gain real insight from the student pioneers who participate. We expect to adjust and adapt in future years as we add new topics and new geographic areas.
- We focus primarily on informal, out-of-school activities that connect with schools in some ways, but are primarily outside the school day.
- Each student cohort of around 25 students will stay together over the course of a full year.
- We work to connect with partners already active in a program area and to use existing programs. We emphasize hands-on, active learning that leads to a culminating product or performance.
- We emphasize rigor, relevance, and relationships and use the National Academy’s six strands of successful informal science education: motivation/excitement/engagement; use of concepts/models; exploring/predicting phenomena; reflection; participation; contributing to science.
- We recognize that parents and other caring adults in students’ lives are a key constituency and pay careful attention to issues of parental engagement, cost, transportation, logistics, etc.
- We will develop a cadre of mentors/coaches to work with participating students.
Reach Center pioneer participants began in Summer 2012 in three program areas.
High school students (entering grades 10-12 in fall 2012) who live near Augusta (including Lewiston/Auburn), participated in an architecture/energy efficiency/sustainability course in collaboration with University of Maine Augusta’s YoUMA camp.
Middle school students (entering grades 6-8 in fall 2012) from Washington and Hancock Counties investigated the world as part of a larger citizen science project: Do Science With the World.
Middle school students (entering grades 6-8 in fall 2012) in southwestern Maine explored ecology in a natural resources course with our partners at 4-H UMaine Cooperative Extension: Ecology Explorers.