Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) programming in the University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit may have looked different this summer, but one thing was still the same –kids were engaged in STEAM activities and career exploration. 4-H staff developed three video series for youth: STEAM Activities, Storybook Engineering, and Meet a STEAM Professional.
Summer STEAM Coordinator Kate Mueller developed a series of short, educational videos focused on STEAM activities that can be done at home. Lessons included topics such as design thinking, acids and bases, and clouds—just to name a few. An additional series of six videos focused on Storybook Engineering. These videos tied an engineering concept such as wedge, axle, or level with a children’s story. The videos have been used by individuals, youth-serving agencies, libraries, and
4-H clubs and have received over 320 views in the first three months since posting.
“These are fantastic!” shared Amy Edgar, Dunlap Library Youth Services Librarian. “Thanks so much for creating these STEAM videos and activities. I'm so excited that we will now still be able to offer STEAM programs in July to our patrons despite the shift to virtual programming. Thank you SO MUCH. I am truly thrilled that we will be able to offer this to our patrons this summer.”
4-H Youth Development Educators Emily Schoenfelder and Judy Schmidt also created a series of five Zoom sessions titled, “Meet a STEAM Professional”. These sessions introduced middle school youth to a variety of local STEAM professionals. Guest speakers included: Shannon Egli from JUMP Simulation (anatomy), Mary Jo Papich from Jazz Education Network (music), Ursula Towne and Thuong Le from Caterpillar and Society of Women Engineers (engineering), Adrienne Bauer from Wildlife Prairie Park (animals), Jenn Gordon from Arts Partners (arts), and Erica Goett, Kristin Duffield and Kylie Hampton from the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (insects). Presenters shared about their career path, their daily work, and did some kind of fun demonstrations and experiments. These sessions were recorded and continue to be accessed and provide education.
At the completion of the “Meet a STEAM Professional” series, evaluations were sent to 62 participants who registered. Of those that responded, 100% said they learned something new about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Similarly, 100% of respondents also reported that they learned things to help them achieve their goals, they are more excited about taking STEAM classes in school, and they learned things to help them prepare for their future career. Participants also shared that getting to see what professionals do in their jobs and learning about different careers were some of the most beneficial parts of the program. Both the STEAM videos series and the Meet a STEAM Professional series are available on the Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit website or directly through the unit YouTube page at go.illinois.edu/STEAMplaylist.