You’ve heard of STEM, right? Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, in the context of education policy. So, our friend Jason Martin said, Hey, what about ART? And he added the ‘A’ to make it STE(A)M. Even better, he added a truck, to make it STE(A)M Truck(TM). There really is a truck. Just stick with me here.
Since WonderRoot is all about art, we have partnered with STE(A)M Truck in two ways: First, WonderRoot is a resource through which STE(A)M Truck identifies artists who can work as Artists in Residence at local schools. Second, WonderRoot Creative Reuse has supplied STE(A)M Truck with a pile of cool materials to use for some of their art projects.
Right now, the STE(A)M Truck program just has the one truck, but Jason and the organization he founded, Community Guilds, have a goal that within 5 years, every large school district in the Southeast will have a STE(A)M Truck, which they also call a “makerspace.” That’s maker and space. A place where people make stuff. It will take 100 STE(A)M Trucks to supply that many schools.
Why do schools need a STE(A)M Truck? Jason explains that two generations of kids have not experienced shop class — unless they choose the vo-tech route rather than a four-year college. Most kids are missing out on some very important skills that could help them thrive and be more successful in school and, yes, in college — the non-cognitive skills like grit, perserverence, creativity, innovation, teamwork and collaboration. Non-cognitive skills help kids understand that it’s OK to fail when you learn from that failure.
The STE(A)M Truck provides elementary and middle school kids with an opportunity to tackle problems hands-on. It’s something like a shop class on wheels. [What about high school kids? Community Guilds has a program for them, too, called Apprenticeship Learning.]
Two lucky Atlanta public schools will host the STE(A)M Truck this spring. For five weeks, the STE(A)M Truck will park at the Kipp Ways Academy during the school day and The Kindezi School during the after-school hours. Three Artists in Residence will work with the kids in and around the STE(A)M Truck during these five weeks.
You, too, can experience STE(A)M Truck this weekend! Jason and STE(A)M Truck Director Xavier Vinas and their volunteers will bring the STE(A)M Truck to the Atlanta Science Festival Expo at Centennial Olympic Park this Saturday, 3/29, from 11-4. Part of a week-long science festival, the Expo will include a Makers Village presented by Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. In addition to the STE(A)M Truck, the Makers Village will include the following makerspaces and educational groups for a day of exploring how making and science connect:
- MASS Collective – Lichtenberg figures, Jacob’s Ladder, Vortex Cannon
- Decatur Makers – Screaming balloons, Non-Newtonian fluid speaker dancing
- Freeside Atlanta – Brain-Computer interfaces
- Georgia Tech Invention Studio – 3D Printing
- Museum School – Erosion experiments
- City School of Decatur – Roller coaster science