Hundreds of Children Learn About STEAM with Games, Experiments
CRAIOVA, Romania – The Caravan of Science Games rolled into Ford's Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) in Romania to give children a sample of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and its importance in real life. More than 800 students from area primary and secondary schools visited the caravan, which is an interactive traveling exhibition that uses experiments, workshops, games and a healthy serving of fun to help kids of all ages better understand what STEAM is all about.
The Caravan of Science Games includes an exhibition area and a mini-science lab with 30 exhibits that demonstrate physics laws related to optics, mechanics, mathematics, geography and logic. A workshop area is organized based on the age of the children and allows them to work on projects individually or in groups, while learning about the laws of science and natural phenomena.
"Learning through discovery is an intellectual training exercise," said Leonardo-Geo Mănescu, president, EDUCOL, a local nonprofit education association working in collaboration with Ford Fund. "We are trying to spark the curiosity of the children and benefit their development."
The children made small electrical circuits, and discovered through experiments how they can modify a center of gravity, lift weights with a windmill and form an optical illusion. The exhibition also included opportunities for parents and teachers to learn along with the kids, who used their creativity and curiosity as they moved around the different stations.
"The Science Games Caravan tries to bring children closer to the practical aspects of what they learn at school," said Ana-Roată Palade, founder of the Pro Knowledge Association and City of Knowledge. "We demonstrate science, math and technology with games and experiments, showing students how this knowledge is essential in everyday life, and how the goal of these skills is to make their lives easier, not harder."
Technical jobs requiring STEAM skills are expected to be in high demand in the future. Research indicates that students who are exposed to STEAM by adolescence are more likely to pursue tech fields as adults. The youngsters taking part in the activities of the science caravan seemed to enjoy what they saw and learned.
"I liked the workshop and the game room," said Maria, a 5th grader. "All the games here are exciting and educational."
"I have experienced new things and new games," added Adrian, a 6th grader. "I liked today very much."
The week long science event took place at Ford's Resource and Engagement Center in Romania, Ford's first entrepreneurial hub in Europe, where students and graduates of the University of Craiova can develop and implement social entrepreneurship projects to serve the local community.
Ford Resource and Engagement Centers are an innovation from Ford Motor Company Fund that bring together nonprofit partners in a collaborative environment to support the surrounding community and help make people's lives better. The center in Romania complements two in Detroit, in the U.S.; one in South Africa; and the most recent to open in Bangkok, Thailand.