Skills we learn and the technology we use at The STEAM Project
SKILLS & TECHNOLOGY
Although 3D printers have been a rapidly growing fascination in the media and the science community itself, 3D printing is far from a new type of technology. Rather, it is a new way of learning. Kids will improve their visual-spatial sense and awareness through designing and printing complex geometric shapes and interlocking parts to build toys, household items, and think of ways their designs can improve their current personal/group projects and the world around them.
Not only will campers be taught efficient design, but they will take on the process of designing for aesthetic purposes as well. Campers will be taught how to design with purpose through the use of all of the materials at their disposal. This means that paints, stains, and varnishes can be used by campers where they see fit to give their masterpiece it’s finishing touch, add a protective layer or coat, and strengthen the overall quality of their projects and designs!
Create products and sculptures that light up, move, whirr, and much more using Squishy Circuit’s conductive and insulating play-dough! Squishy Circuits balances play and learning all while teaching the basics of electricity and engineering. The combinations of different circuit components allows for almost endless possibilities for different projects and designs that encourage problem-solving and independent thinking through creativity and fun.
Mould making is the scientific and creative process in which a matrix is hollowed in a desired shape so that it can be filled, repeatedly, with a shaping liquid or pliable material such as plastic, metal, glass, or ceramic plaster to create a specific 3D objects. This process is used by kids to design small-scale 3D objects, such as action heroes, figurines, toys, and art projects.
A drill press is a specialized drill with a drill axis that is angled relative to the table/workbench that allows holes to be drilled more accurately and more safely. The drill’s accuracy can be deduced mathematically, unlike a hand-held drill where the user must simultaneously position and cut the material, due to the radial tray. This type of drilling is a more exact and hands-free cut which is safer to use and better to cut!
Ozobot is a screen-free way to teach younger kids the base-logic of programming. Using markers, paper, and colour-coded diagrams and pictures, Ozobot introduces our smaller campers who, like many adults, are fascinated by technology to the language of computers. Kids can practice the principles used to make websites, apps, and software using debugging practices, cause/effect coding, blocks, and more.
The STEAM Project’s environment is one of learning, but more so of fun! This means that instead of competitions, we have battles: campers get to design, program, and build a remote-controlled robot they can use to fight and defeat other campers and their own creations. During the building process, kids get to exercise their minds and think like inventors while enhancing their thinking and creative abilities. During the battle, however, they get to fight!
Through experimenting with and designing inventions that involve circuits, kids will learn the science behind the uses of both common circuits (household, everyday objects) and uncommon circuits (robots, rockets, and even their own creations.) What this means is that kids will get to learn the physics behind the world around them, it’s source, and the application of it. Using the knowledge they gain from STEAM, campers will be able to use components such as resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and motors to create inventions of their own that move or light up or speak to you! In the past, kids have made
Vex Robotics uses easy to use snap-together parts and hands-on, project-based lessons to teach the processes of engineering and the basics of programming. No experience is needed to start building your first robot with Vex Robotics: follow step-by-step instructions to create and expand upon whatever it is you imagine and build to create personalized, functioning robots and machines using controllers, sensors, programmable arms, wheels, and much, much more.
Dash and dot robots respond to voices, sounds, and code, which makes for a tangible programming experience. The robot is a playful version of refined AI (artificial intelligence) specifically designed for kids who are interested in programming and/or are just starting to learn how to code and will help in the transition from block/term-based programming to text, code, and script.
DASH AND DOT
The STEAM Project takes fun and learning to new heights with specialized Radio Control planes and Drones! Although these flyers can also be used for photography, filming, and delivering goods, we use them to teach kids programming, safety, and physics. During the summer months, campers can take to the skies and learn to control and fly beginner/trainer flyers using our hand-held controllers as they gain an appreciation for how they work and their potential applications in other areas of science.
Our building and 3D designing projects are mapped to complement major learning objectives in courses of study and in regular school. Whether they are building robots or launching the rockets they designed, campers at the STEAM Project get to have fun while using their hands to learn and develop their abilities including visual-spatial sense and fine motor skills as well as tool-using and organization.
3D DESIGN SKILLS
The STEAM Project encourages all forms and methods of expressing creativity. This means that we have sewing machines and fabrics available on-site. Kids add their own 3D printed accessories to their shirts, banners, hats, and other sewing-related ideas while developing their sewing techniques, general style, and fine-motor skills.
The concept of wearable tech takes a transformational approach to understanding the interactions between art and science. The resources at the STEAM Project allow for kids to incorporate technology into fashion and fashion design for both aesthetic and functional purposes, which mimic the normalization of tech in the modern world. In past years, kids have designed and made their own light-up dresses, shirts with interactive or electronic designs, and even an adhesive and wearable device that detects sugar levels by observing colour changes!
With MakeyMakey, kids learn the foundations of coding and programming as they explore how basic circuits work and transform everyday objects and materials into their own clever inventions through motorized additions and improvements. Kids can use MakeyMakey’s conductive materials including graphite pencils and playdough to alter the world around them, like making drawings talk with the press of a button or build pressure-sensitive switches from a simple piece of wood.
Whether it’s customized jewelry or a large-scale lighting bar, soldering can be used to fuse materials together to create a range of products, letting campers use the full extent of their imagination. Soldering is a coalescent process that creates a permanent connection between electronic and metallic components using heat, pressure, and a connecting-metal filament. It is used often for large scale projects, such as sculptures or moving machines, but even smaller, more intricate designs can be made, such as keys and lockets.
The STEAM Project encourages purposeful and motivated use of technology. This means that trial and error with various open-source software such as Arduino, RaspberryPi, and Microbit is encouraged to explore interactive electronic objects, code, and testing.
With mBot, campers get to create a personalized robot from scratch and experience the joy of hands-on creation and thinking like an engineer. As the kids build, design, and specialize their robot, they will learn the proper uses and specific purposes of a variety of electric parts and robotic machinery as they develop skills in programming, design, logic, and thinking while simultaneously building a miniature robotic friend!
Because of the fineness of the blade and position of the table, the scroll saw can be used to make non-straight lines and angled edges to bring to life some of the campers’ larger-scaled ideas and intricate designs. The scroll saw is a small but powerful pedal-operated cutter that uses a reciprocated blade to give easy access to all areas of potential cutting to add width and dimension to any materials the campers’ design may call for (wood, metal, plexiglass, etc.)
The MakerEd movement describes an open-ended and open-minded learning curriculum that develops future-focused thinking in future engineers, architects, environmentalists, and other STEM-based careers. The STEAM Project and MakerEd work together to create learning environments and projects that mean something, with useful resources such as Inkscape, Gimp, Audacity, and other learning tools that can be used and applied to the world around us for the better.
Campers use 3D pens to work plastic into any shape they can imagine. The pens use the same heating element and plastic filament extruder as a 3D printer and create the same effect, but the designs can be made with only a flick of the wrist, mid-air. Campers can repair broken products with the pen, or even modify intricate designs and add raised decoration to surfaces or other products and devices. The pen is a freer alternative to 3D design that allows designs to go from ideas to reality almost instantly as opposed to being controlled with computer software and motors, kids can guide the printer manually and easily.
2D Design skills entail creating sketches for personal t-shirt designs on the vinyl cutter, making mechanical mark-ups for 3D printing and laser cutting, and mapping out framework for hands-on projects and activities. While developing this skill, kids will improve their sense of symmetry, balance, and space while making skeletons and graphic productions.
2D DESIGN SKILLS
Often only available in universities or engineering programs, laser cutting is fun and high-tech method of transforming a 2D file or sketch into a physical object. The laser cutter is a non-contact, highly accurate laser beam that focuses on a small area of material to create highly accurate designs and models useful for visual-spatial design and associated skills in general education.
Short for Computer Numerical Control Machine, the CNC Miller is a high-powered rotary cutter that staff can use to bring camper’s designs to life. Because of its special drill bit and power, the CNC can carve out designs with more dimension and width in all sorts of materials (including metal), meaning that campers have the ability to use the full extent of their imagination to create products larger than ever! Campers have made electric guitars, rideable skateboards, and much more.
When we’re not making our signature STEAM Project camp t-shirts, style-savvy campers are applying their knowledge to fabric with our in-house Vinyl Cutter and Heat Press! Campers are encouraged to explore their creative side at the STEAM Project, and they can do so by cutting their own graphic designs, logos, or slogans out and transferring the vinyl onto articles of clothing using heat and pressure functions to entertain their own sense of style!
VINYL CUTTING/HEAT PRESS
Safety precautions and proper safety education are no hindrance to the STEAM Project. We take into account the proper use of resources and materials just as much as the tools we use to build with. This means that campers are taught how and when to use the many different types of screws (eye bolt screws, dowel screws, chipboard screws, etc.), nails (box nails, finishing nails, casing nails, etc.) as well as adhesives (such as wood glue, Epoxy, gaffer tape and aluminum, etc.) Here at the STEAM Project, we take into account the proper and efficient use of tools just as much as the resources and materials they are used on.