The “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) knows the importance of STEM education, especially for young students in underserved neighborhoods. Many openings for STEM jobs are created every day, and low-income students who lack access to science education early in their school years are in danger of losing out on STEM career opportunities. Therefore, we strive to introduce our students (whom we affectionately refer to as our “Dreamers”) to a variety of STEM concepts and careers. For example, our STEAM club, which is a club for our IEP Dreamers at Sunrise Elementary in Boyle Heights, provides lessons that combine STEM and the arts. Recently, our Dreamers in the STEAM club learned about the concept of balance through “A Balancing Act,” a fun activity using robot cutouts that combined art and self-expression with STEM education.
The STEAM Club Activity Combined Art and STEM Education
The Dreamers began their STEAM education club lessons by learning the definition of balance. The IHADLA program coordinators led the Dreamers through several demonstrations showing how equal weight distribution results in balance. Through these demonstrations, the program coordinators engaged the Dreamers and ensured that they understood balance as a concept and what is required to achieve it.
After the Dreamers understood the concept of balance, they began the next part of their activity by receiving fun cutouts in the shape of robots. Since the STEAM club combines elements of science and art activities, they first made sure their robot cutouts were as colorful and unique as possible. They used markers of all different colors to create striking combinations and fun designs. This part of the activity allowed the Dreamers to express themselves through their designs and prepare themselves for the next part of their STEAM activity.
The Dreamers Put their New STEAM Knowledge into Practice
After ensuring their robots were as colorful as they could be, the Dreamers put their new STEAM knowledge into practice in their main activity: placing two pennies on their cutout robots in places where they would stay balanced and not fall off. The Dreamers had great fun trying to find the exact location where they had to place the pennies in order to keep their robot balanced, and they were delighted when they figured out the answer. With encouragement and guidance, all the Dreamers were able to make their robots balance.
The Boyle Heights Dreamers Had Great Fun Learning About the Key Concept of Balance
The Dreamers ended their lessons by taking few fun pictures with their completed robot cutouts. Thanks to this engaging STEAM activity, they now have a good grasp of balance, which is a key idea in many science contexts.
We look forward to bringing you more updates on the STEAM activities the Dreamers complete in their club!
How You Can Help
If you would like to help us continue to offer our Dreamers educational activities like the ones offered through our STEAM Club, please visit our How You Can Help page by clicking the graphic below or navigating to the How You Can Help tab on our website. You can get involved with IHADLA in many ways, such as by donating, volunteering, mentoring, or being a Dream Speaker for our students.