What happens when you put kids in front of microscopes and teach them how to make selfies from their DNA? Some would say magic; at the Science Center, we say STEAM! Through youth programming, mentorships, and educator workshops that encourage creative exploration and experiential learning, the Science Center is using Art to encourage entry into the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—and ensuring that today’s generation of students is prepared to become tomorrow’s innovation workforce. 

STEAM
STEAM

What happens when you put kids in front of microscopes and teach them how to make selfies from their DNA? Some would say magic; at the Science Center, we say STEAM! Through youth programming, mentorships, and educator workshops that encourage creative exploration and experiential learning, the Science Center is using Art to encourage entry into the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—and ensuring that today’s generation of students is prepared to become tomorrow’s innovation workforce. 

ART ALONG THE AVENUE OF TECHNOLOGY
PolakvanBekkum, an artist duo from the Netherlands, arrived in Philadelphia in May 2014 to help activate the Science Center’s campus through a ground-breaking placemaking and community engagement program: Art Along the Avenue of Technology. Through November 2014, Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum will explore the intersection of art, science and technology along Market Street. PolakvanBekkum will create a Google Earth film that incorporates satellite imagery, photography and GPS to document mobility in the region. Art Along the Avenue of Technology is supported by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program and Wexford Science + Technology. 

LET’S PLAY VENTURE!
Sometimes it takes a low-tech approach to explain a high-tech institution. Faced with the challenge of making the Science Center accessible to the community at large, the leaders of the Science Center’s STEAM Initiatives designed and developed Venture, a role-playing card game that gives players an inside look at how the Science Center helps entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground.  Game participants take on the role of a startup founder, a lab technician, a venture capital funder, a Science Center employee, or even a company CEO! Successful players cultivate relationships and connections, in effect recreating the supportive web that is at the core of the Science Center’s mission. 

TEACHING THE TEACHERS
The majority of middle school students nationwide are being taught math and science by teachers with no degrees or certificates in STEM subjects. This is a particularly troubling issue in resource-poor Philadelphia, which lacks the assets to support STEM education at a wholesale level. That’s where the Science Center’s Educator Training program comes in. Aimed at transforming the educational space, the Science Center’s STEAM workshops offer a hands-on approach that allows educators to evaluate and innovate their teaching styles. This unique early-stage workshop supports educators with flexible methods that will enable their own programs to evolve with the future workforce needs. Educators leave with a new sense of what STEAM education means and as part of a supported community of peers.