It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Staten Island MakerSpace brings ‘S.T.E.A.M. Wagon’ to schools to teach valuable hands-on skills

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Hands-on learning taken down to the basics.

“This is a fun and new experience,” Brianna Blenman, a high school student, smiled.

“Getting out and getting to learn new things, it really helps” another student said.

These ladies are all part of the 'S.T.E.A.M.' {science, technology, engineering, arts, math) Club at Cathedral High School.

“In the classroom, we learn about it but we wouldn’t apply it but this club allows us," Sierra Maldonado, a student. explained.

“We’re trying to break the stigma because realistically, it’s not guy stuff, it’s everybody stuff," Jonathan Boo, director of S.T.E.A.M. education at Cathedral High School, said.

“Kids need to get dirty, they need to understand how things are made, they need to understand how tools work,” Scott Van Campen, co-founder of S.I. MakerSpace, explained.

And making the making happen, the Staten Island MakerSpace.

“Staten Island MakerSpace is a six-thousand square foot collaborative, community-based nonprofit workshop,” Van Campen said.

But now, they can take that learning on the road, bringing drills saws, 3-D printers and much more with the 'STEAM Wagon.'

“Once you had the truck what did you want to do?" I asked. "We really wanted to be able to bring S.T.E.A.M. education to public schools, to community events, to libraries," Van Campen explained. "We feel very strongly that if you can teach kids how to think creatively, they’re going to solve problems better.”

Creativity that comes from being given a chance.

“People think I’m too small or I’m too young to use a drill and I can’t do anything but to be able to do it, it’s fun!” Blenman said.

"What STEAM Wagon is doing is vital, what they’re doing is creating interest and the girls are walking away with this wow factor,” Boo said.

A spark of passion that could one day translate to a profession.

“I think this is really important to learn because I know that I want to go into a career that involves science, technology, engineering,” one S.T.E.A.M. club student said.

As for what these girls would say to their friends about the STEAM Wagon...?

“I’d say it was fun and if you have it at your school, you should try it!” Blenman smiled.

And the hope over the next few years is that every New York City kid can have access to this type of learning.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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