Mobile Science Camp strives to make STEM inclusive, accessible

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Mobile Science Camp strives to make STEM inclusive, accessible

Victoria Pinkett '20 teaches kids at Brockton Avenue Elementary about kinetic and potential energy. The Mobile Science Camp club at Archer teaches hour-long science lessons at Brockton Ave. once a month.

Victoria Pinkett '20 teaches kids at Brockton Avenue Elementary about kinetic and potential energy. The Mobile Science Camp club at Archer teaches hour-long science lessons at Brockton Ave. once a month.

Kylan Gould

Victoria Pinkett '20 teaches kids at Brockton Avenue Elementary about kinetic and potential energy. The Mobile Science Camp club at Archer teaches hour-long science lessons at Brockton Ave. once a month.

Kylan Gould

Kylan Gould

Victoria Pinkett '20 teaches kids at Brockton Avenue Elementary about kinetic and potential energy. The Mobile Science Camp club at Archer teaches hour-long science lessons at Brockton Ave. once a month.

By Celeste Ramirez, The Archer School for Girls

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Junior Hannah Kim was cleaning up after a Mobile Science Camp club visit to the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library when the working librarian approached her.

“Please come again, like, all the time, because I overheard a kid saying, ‘Oh, I want to come to the library more often,'” the librarian said.

Kim says she felt “inspired and motivated” because that was exactly what the club wants to share with the children it serves.

“I feel like we kind of empowered that little kid to come to more places like his library or go to more clubs like MSC,” Kim said.”That’s such a concrete example of how we can influence little kids to be in that environment — a learning environment.”

Juniors Hannah Kim and Stella Kraus started the Mobile Science Camp club at Archer last year after realizing that the STEM field is not as diverse as it should be. The club encourages kids to pursue STEM in the future and shows them a different side to science.

“Mobile Science Camp strives to bring the experience of science camps, or a hands-on experiential education, to students who otherwise wouldn’t have those experiences, ” junior Gillian Varnum said.

Both Kim and Kraus have always been interested in math and sciences and said they have benefitted from an education where science is interactive. They feel that STEM education should be easily accessible to all students.

Photo credit: Kylan Gould
The Mobile Science Camp team teaches a lesson with their Mattel Children’s Foundation Hot Wheels® Speedometry™ Kit.

“All the experiments we do — it’s all supplies you can find at home, like vinegar or plastic cups or batteries. We try to teach these kids that science isn’t just for people who are privileged [or] people who go to private schools,” Kim said. “We want to show these kids that they can do science anywhere, no matter who they are [or] what kind of circumstance they’re in.”

The club has a focus on providing hands-on experiments that bring science to life.

“In a lot of elementary schools, science class is mostly worksheets and memorization without any visualization and hands-on work,” Varnum said. “At Archer, we’re really lucky to have a science education that gives us the opportunities to do activities like labs, [and] it’s really rewarding to be able to share that with younger kids.”

The club has about 20 members who Kim said “never” miss lunch meetings. Members have done over seven off-campus visits, including trips to Brockton Ave. Elementary School, ‘Summer MSCs‘  at local libraries and a sponsored lesson from multinational toy manufacturing company Mattel.

“I’m very grateful for the team because they’ve been doing this for me from the beginning until the end,” Kim said. “I think all this MSC success is because of our members.”

The club is split up into different committees: curriculum development, teachers, media team and outreach team.

“We meet every Tuesday and plan out experiments and test experiments that we are going to show to the kids, and we basically plan out our whole lesson,” Kraus said. “Once a month, we go to actually visit the school. We have an hour-long lesson and we do three experiments and we show them basic science topics.”

Members have had “meaningful” experiences by participating in the club and find community service “empowering.”

“It gives me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that I’m doing something for my community,” seventh-grader Stephanie Harrison said. “It’s actually a really fun club to be a part of and there is this sort of bond that we each share…We would be happy to have some new members, especially middle schoolers.”

Kim said that doing community service is a “blessing” and encouraged other Archer students to engage in their communities.

“It seems like a very small thing — it’s like an hour, it doesn’t matter — but with that hour [lesson], I felt like I could do anything,” Kim said. “I can change this little kid’s heart about science…and that really makes me want to learn more, learn more science, so I can teach these kids.”

This story was originally published on The Oracle on February 3, 2019.