Engineering brings STEM studies home for kids

Editor’s note: Visit the official Western COVID-19 website for the latest campus updates.

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With schools closed and social interactions limited, it is undeniably a difficult time for parents and teachers as they try to engage kids in at-home learning activities.

That’s why Western Engineering Outreach has launched a new digital program, STEM @ Home.

“It is so important right now for parents and teachers to know that we are here to support the learning and growth of the youth in our community,” said Kelsey Lavigne, Outreach Program Manager. “There is a lot happening at home for families to balance, and while we cannot be with students physically to lead them through these activities, we will do our best to support their interest and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Each week, Western Engineering Outreach will provide new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities for children from Kindergarten to Grade 8 – all for free.

Activities organized by grade level and theme will focus on fun engineering and science concepts, design challenges, coding, and more.

Developed by the Discovery Western staff in the Faculty of Engineering, the team ensures each activity lines up with the elementary school curriculum and provides an engaging experience for all participants.

Families can expect to see a variety of activities, including:

  • Exploring urban planning, as youth dive deeper into civil engineering by designing their own city;
  • Learning about sound and how to minimize the decibel level by soundproofing a space similar to recording studios or headphones; and
  • Exploring coding through designing an online Etch-a-Sketch program.

These design challenges allow youth to explore various streams of engineering, using materials that can be found at home or easily purchased online. In order to provide students with a real-world connection as they learn, each activity will highlight an engineer at Western whose career is in line with the activity.

“Making the move to online programming has been challenging but very rewarding,” Lavigne said, noting that Western Engineering Outreach connected with more than 14,000 youth but had never offered digital programming until now.

“Our team is dedicated to exploring new ways that we can continue to support our community, even though we are unable to provide in-person, hands-on activities.”

Visit the STEM@Home website for more information.