Merging music with tech subjects was the focus of a CREATE Music STEM Camp for fifth graders at Lincoln Elementary School. The camp was offered by the PEERS Foundation, a nonprofit that exposes children to STEM education, and encourages them to consider STEM careers throughout the United States.
“We want them to see that these areas of STEM are not just abstract, in a book, sitting in a classroom,” Mark McDonald, STEM camp lead educator, said. “Not only are they fun and interesting, they are relevant in every aspect of their life. It doesn’t matter what they are interested in or what their career goal is, it can be related back to science, technology, engineering and math.”
“We didn’t come up with 30-foot heads on combines without someone involved in engineering and creating it,” he said. “It is everywhere, and we want them to see that it is everywhere and it can be a good time. They are the future. They are the ones that are going to come up with the next thing.”
After being split into two groups children learned about coding in one group and electrical engineering in the other. Scratch was used by the coding group to program a computer keyboard and drum set. The engineering group created synthesizers using a building kit called littleBits.
“It gets them using code, seeing how code works — if then functions and the whole process of variables,” McDonald said.