Moving Full STEAM Ahead
At this time last year, we were beginning our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, having re-opened with limited hours in July. One year later, we have a lot of good news and want to share it with you.
Kidzeum’s STEAM Residency program, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and generous supporters like you, began last November. This innovative program is the result of a partnership with District 186 that aims to address equity issues in education and improve interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We add Art to incorporate creative content that engages a broad range of learners (STEAM). The program, now moving out of its pilot phase, aims to serve every second grader in the district in 2023 who will come with their class to Kidzeum for one week of learning.
The success of our first year of the STEAM Residency produced positive results. As noted in the report created by Southern Illinois University: “Results demonstrated the program was well received by the community, students, teachers, and district staff. First, students’ interest in science improved. Second, students’ enthusiasm, aptitudes, and engagement in STEM highly improved. Third, there was high improvement in students’ interest in STEM careers. Fourth, students experienced social-emotional benefits in that over half of the students reported that they had made more friendships since beginning the program.”
Kidzeum launched a full summer of STEAM camps in 2022, serving 167 students. District 186 provided tuition for all of its students who attended. With a new theme each week, camp-goers learned about coding, 3D printing, engineering, pollinators, solar energy and more. Kidzeum has partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield, The Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and Southwind Park to take campers to new locations and to explore new topics like aeronautics and astronomy.
Kidzeum received a grant from the Young Philanthropists at the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln to launch a pilot program called the Young Engineers Club. Developed and delivered in partnership with Eaton Corporation (including loads of design help and active teaching from one of their engineers), this club emphasizes the ways in which engineering impacts our everyday lives. It also gets kids to think like engineers through the use of design principles—Ask (what’s the problem?), Imagine (a solution), Plan, Create, Test, Improve. Your support will allow us to expand beyond this eight-week program to provide after school programs for the entire 2023-2024 school year, including scholarships for students who couldn’t normally attend.
THE KIDZEUM CENTER FOR STEAM EDUCATION
To build on the momentum of the STEAM Residency and firmly establish Kidzeum as an essential partner in community-based education, we are creating the Kidzeum Center for STEAM Education. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources awarded Kidzeum a $366,500 grant to renovate two vacant storefronts connected to the museum. Your year-end gift will provide critical support to launch the major programs carried out by the Center—expanded content for the STEAM Residency program; a full slate of summer camps with stronger STEM content; a full year of after-school programs; in-school, and weekend programs; professional development for staff; and a STEAM Education workshop for teachers. Naming opportunities are available for the STEAM Center. Contact Leah Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Our students and visiting families thank you for your support!
Executive Director, Kidzeum
Brook D. Croke
Vice President, Kidzeum Board of Directors