4 September 2020

K-12 Camp COVID-19 Alternative: Summer Exploration Series

MagLab researcher Huan Chen talks to the director of K-12 educational programs during one of the Summer Exploration Series live sessions. MagLab researcher Huan Chen talks to the director of K-12 educational programs during one of the Summer Exploration Series live sessions.

When COVID-19 eliminated the option for in-person camp experiences, the MagLab pivoted to offer a free virtual Summer Exploration Series instead.

What is the event?

Due to COVID 19, the MagLab decided not to hold any in-person summer camps for the first time in 15 years. We felt the need to create a safe, interactive virtual program that would highlight the research performed at the MagLab in a way that was engaging to youth. During March and April, we designed the 10-week virtual MagLab Summer Exploration Series.

Why is this important?

Summer camps can play a crucial role in maintaining the interest of young people in STEM. The Summer Exploration Series was designed with the same goals as our summer camps – to maintain interest in STEM and engage youth in activities that connected them with STEM professionals and authentic STEM challenges. Each week focused on a specific research topic. MagLab Educator Carlos Villa would introduce the topic and the weekly challenge on Mondays along with a scientist who works in the area. On Tuesdays, he would post links to MagLab tutorials and videos to help students with their challenge. On Wednesdays, he would host a live Ask Me Anything with a MagLab scientist or engineer. On Thursdays, he would post a prerecorded career interview. And, on Fridays, Carlos would present the challenges. All live activities were conducted via Zoom. Students were mailed prizes for their participation in the challenges.

Why did they need the MagLab?

The Center for Integrating Research and Learning (CIRL) is a MagLab asset that advances its mission to build a STEM workforce. CIRL helps to feature MagLab research in a way that is accessible to students. CIRL's expertise made this program a success and allowed many new scientists and engineers to engage with youth, even during a pandemic. View Summer Exploration Series page.

Funding

This research was funded by the following grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490, NSF DMR-1644779)


For more information, contact Carlos Villa.

Last modified on 4 September 2020