STEAM Builders aims to foster scientific literacy and problem-solving skills among children aged 8-12 by creating and piloting an innovative experiential STEAM program to be implemented using the public infrastructure of Children’s Clubs. Revitalizing this infrastructure with a modern curriculum could create new opportunities for children to discover science and technology in a fun way.
In a preliminary assessment of the capacity of the Children’s Clubs to host the program, Asociația Eematico contacted 5% of all clubs to validate the idea. They concluded that clubs currently have limited educational provision for children, but have the infrastructure and potential to provide science/technical courses. With an impressive track record in designing educational activities and products (over 650 products, from toys to complex experiments), the association is well positioned to create a customized STEAM program capable of revitalizing Kids’ Clubs.
STEAM education is vital because it emphasizes scientific subjects, technological knowledge, engineering principles, and problem-solving techniques. It integrates various subjects, encouraging connections between physics, mathematics, chemistry and real-life applications, improving critical thinking, creativity and communication skills.
The program aims to create and test a prototype for STEAM Builders clubs, verifying the viability of the concept and collecting the necessary information for further consolidation and expansion.
The curriculum (32 lessons to be implemented over nine months) will connect the main scientific fields (physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics) with real-life applications in geography, architecture or engineering, with the aim of gaining an understanding deeper understanding of concepts and positive attitudes towards science. The central element of each activity will be DIY projects and individual or group experiments.
The pilot project will consist of two phases:
- During the first stage, the association will do a preliminary test by carrying out a set of educational activities with 300 children (research question: What is the real availability and interest at the local level towards the proposed educational concept?). The eematico team will deliver the activities directly to children through one-day workshops in seven children’s clubs. Based on the children’s response, the organization will make the final format of the curriculum and associated materials.
- Secondly, they will test how the Children’s Club teachers deliver the curriculum in 2 clubs for 50 children over a nine-month period (research questions: Are the activities and materials appropriate to the existing infrastructure and skills in the clubs? What do clubs need to implement the program optimally in the long term?)
A STEAM course model suitable for Kids’ Club teachers to implement autonomously (or with minimal support):
- 75% of the participating children show significant progress regarding the desired skills and attitudes.
- 75% of teachers are able to implement the course autonomously or with minimal support.
- a set of conclusions on the effectiveness and efficiency of the model and recommendations for improvement.