Discover SCIENCE (a Scientific Creative Innovative Engaging New Cool Experience) is a hands-on STEM and arts program that focuses on health issues of concern to the local District of Columbia community including asthma, stress, cardio-metabolic risk and mental health. The activities and programs are currently being planned in six District of Columbia Public Library locations, with plans to expand to 10 locations by the Spring of 2019.
This project will incorporate lessons learned from our previously funded SEPA, based in five Title I elementary schools in the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County Maryland. In this proposal, “SCIENCE” will engage a new audience of learners in their out of school time in the setting of community libraries. We will provide programming that uses hands- on, inquiry-based learning based on our established art and science curriculum designed to improve the physical, cognitive and social development of children and their families.
SCIENCE will include instructional units, web based activities and ‘hands on/brains on’ manipulation utilizing our compact, portable and unique “art and science in a box”, which consolidates all materials needed to bring excitement to STEM learning. We will focus on preventative health areas of concern to our community, including asthma, stress, cardio-metabolic risk, sleep and behavioral issues, including bullying, genetic diseases like sickle cell disease and, injury prevention at home, in school and with sports.
We will also provide professional development training for informal educators. Specifically, we will adapt our previously successful in-school curriculum for a broader group of children from grades K–5 who utilize the District of Columbia Public Libraries (DCPL) and Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL). The curriculum is aligned to both Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, and will be expanded with the addition of bioengineering/imaging/computing, and mindfulness.
With our integrated-art focused STEM and preventative health educational program, we will empower children by encouraging curiosity and discovery as well as providing tools to incorporate health and science messaging to improve school readiness. Over the course of the five years, we will implement the program progressively in 10 DCPL branches and 2 Baltimore branches. Programming will take place during winter and spring breaks, professional development days, special holidays and weekends.
We will continue our successful one week hospital summer program, Dr. Bear’s Summer Science Experience, an interactive STEAM experience which takes place in the hospital and its research laboratories. In addition to student focused programming, we will also create Family Learning Events—entertaining and collaborative programs for families—to be held in DCPL and EPFL branches with a focus on disease prevention which adversely affects our community. Take home materials will include handouts, web resources, apps and links in in both English and Spanish, and will focus on reading readiness and mastery of STEM concepts.