By: Quo Vadis Sylve Hollins
Christopher Hatten, a STEM/Makerspace teacher at KIPP Central City Academy, recently had the pleasure of welcoming Bryoni Prentice, the director of Electric Girls, to his classroom. Electric Girls is a non-profit organization that encourages girls to pursue STEM fields. Together, Mr. Hatten and his students had been working on a 3D printing and vacuum forming project in which the students designed and printed their own customized chocolate molds. During Prentice's visit, they finally added chocolate to their creations, bringing their designs to life.
The project was dubbed "Food for Thought" by Mr. Hatten, highlighting the concept that ideas and designs can become something physical that can be seen, touched, smelled, and tasted. The students were thrilled to see their hard work pay off and finally taste their creations. Prentice was equally impressed with the project and emphasized the importance of inspiring youth and building their confidence and problem-solving skills. She said, "It's definitely a great motivation to be able to inspire others."
Prentice believes in constantly lifting kids up and teaching them problem-solving skills and confidence. Being able to inspire youth and letting them know that you believe in them is so important. As a community, we should give them the tools they need so they can figure things out and be resilient in the face of setbacks, she shared.
In addition to the creativity and problem-solving skills developed in the "Food for Thought" project, there is also a math connection. As the students weighed the chocolate and calculated the cost per chocolate, they practiced math skills such as measurement, multiplication, and division. This hands-on approach to learning math can help students see the practical applications of the subject and increase their understanding and engagement with it. By incorporating math into a fun and delicious project like this, Mr. Hatten and Electric Girls are helping to make STEM subjects more accessible and exciting for students.
The day was a huge success, with School Leader Quiana Jones equally impressed with the project's impact on the students. She noted, "This project is a perfect example of how science and technology can be used to engage students in a hands-on and fun way. Mr. Hatten has done an outstanding job of challenging his students to think outside the box and turn their ideas into something real."
Overall, the event was a testament to the power of hands-on learning and encouragement. As Mr. Hatten explained, "It's so important to give students the chance to take risks and make mistakes and learn through the process. When they see that they can do it, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride."