Science, Technology Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics

Access to “Out of School” learning experiences can play a prominent role in introducing low-income students to STEM projects and leading them down a pathway to a STEM career. Out of school programs, such as summer camps and afterschool activities, encourage alternative ways of learning complex material related to math and science (National Research Council, Learning Science in Informal Environments, 2009). 

Each year Community Partners, Inc. in collaboration with HOC, coordinates summer day camps that bring STEAM activities in robotics, scientific research, STEM career exploration and cultural arts to low-income youth. Whether virtual or in-person, the summer day camps run up to four hours a day for a week at a time. Trained instructors teach HOC youth a variety of skills in everything from building robots and conducting science experiments to artistic expression with technology and cultural arts projects in dance, art, and videography. The activities help to keep our kids engaged and thinking, so that they are better prepared for the upcoming school year.

Also, low-income middle school youth are inspired to be STEM researchers. In partnership with Learning Undefeated, Community Partners and HOC conduct a summer day camp for rising seventh and eighth graders, with a focus on underserved students (defined as minority, female, low- income, and first in their family to go to college). This specialized day camp engages students in authentic research experiences and tours of Maryland STEM research organizations to promote positive attitudes and confidence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Each day after touring these fascinating laboratories, the youth conduct their own age-appropriate laboratory activities that align with local, state, and national curriculum standards. These activities include common bioscience techniques such as DNA extraction and agarose gel electrophoresis, and relevant themes such as alternative fuels, bioengineering, and crime scene investigation.

Every year kids show genuine enthusiasm to learn the concepts of robotics and research, using math, physics and computer programming.