Summer Brings Aerospace to Michigan K-8 Students
For 450 K-8 students in Pontiac and Michigan’s upper peninsula, summer promises to be out of this world.
During each 10-week aerospace-themed A World In Motion® (AWIM®) Summer STEM Immersion, students in nine school and afterschool programs will have a chance to participate in three different AWIM challenges based on grade level: Engineering Designed by Nature, Straw Rockets, and Glider.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
“Summer immersions give students a chance to explore STEM in a fun environment beyond what they typically might do in a classroom setting. The relaxed environment gives them more time to experiment and gain confidence” said Rosana Hull, Pontiac Engineering Center Campus Management and Community Relations Organizer at General Motors and 20+ year AWIM volunteer. Hull was instrumental in orchestrating the collaboration between SAE and the Pontiac United Education Coalition.
Promoting Social Emotional Learning Skills
Beyond the aerospace theme and hands-on STEM learning experiences, one other unique element of the Summer AWIM Immersion centers on mindfulness and a social/emotional learning component. Thanks to a partnership with the Mindfulness Institute of Michigan (MIMI), students will learn Social Emotional Learning Skills (SEL) that will help with creativity and cooperation during STEM activities. Throughout the program, MIMI will also provide teacher training and involve parents in a coaching program to support SEL practices at home.
Inspiring “Aha” STEM Experiences
“The challenge for many students in Pontiac and other communities throughout Michigan is they just don’t see themselves in STEM. By providing these fun, hands-on learning experiences, they start to realize they can be an engineer or a scientist or study math even if nobody in their family has ever done it. AWIM helps to create those “Aha” moments,” Hull added.
Avoiding the “Summer Slide”
Every summer parents and teachers often worry about the “summer slide” where students are believed to lose some of what they learned during the school year—especially crucial on the heals of any lost learning due to COVID-19. By providing students in Pontiac and Michigan’s upper peninsula with fun, hands-on aerospace-themed STEM challenges, they’ll have a better chance to stay engaged over the summer months through play and discovery while building towards STEM fluency.