When the new Denver company Engineering for Kids® reached out to Mile High Mamas to partner, I immediately thought of my 7-year-old son. As an avid science and math lover, I knew he would love their programs that are dedicated to exciting kids ages 4-14 about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies in a fun and challenging way through after-school classes, summer camps, clubs and parties.
What I did not expect: My math-challenged 9-year-old daughter to catch on fire with engineering.
Over Spring Break, the three of us toured their facilities at the Streets of SouthGlenn. Denver parent Iris Lozano recently left her successful career in Merger and Acquisitions and Operations to lead the organization. Her husband Sidney consults and oversees instructor training and quality while continuing to work in the aerospace industry as the Director of Business Development of Engineering Solutions.
“Our focus is to provide a fun and friendly environment, where kids can apply the math and science principles they learn in school and bring engineering to their life,” said Iris. “We offer summer camps and six-week programs in Aerospace, Mechanical, Computer Game Design, and Robotics – all aimed at engaging kids to develop a love for STEM education.”
Sounds like a lofty goal? In just two hours, my kids were inspired in this MythBusters-come-to-life learning center as they used the scientific method in real-life situations. They were electrical engineers as they experimented with circuits. They were aerospace engineers as they learned to launch rockets. They learned robotics as they built a car and navigated it via block programming on the computer, opening a whole new world of gears, pulleys, motors and sensors. And not to be forgotten was the sumo wrestling match between robots.
“We originally employed teachers but quickly realized we needed a different mindset than what the kids are getting in school,” said Sidney. “Now, everyone in our staff has an engineering background to help kids learn not just what and how but the even more important why.”
According to the US Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students proficient in mathematics are interested in a STEM career. Through Engineering for Kids, Iris and Sidney hope to make an impact to today’s youth and steer them in the direction of a STEM-related career. They believe building fond memories of learning engineering and math starts at a young age.
And lest you think Engineering for Kids is all work and no play, Southglenn has a fun water feature for Brain Breaks – and a grassy area where they launch their rockets, construct water ballon trebuchets and torsion machines and blast off cars.
My daughter struggles in math and science and we hired a tutor for her this year. Though she has has made some progress, she still lacks the confidence and fails to see the real-world application. Sidney patiently walked her through the non-formal learning process at Engineering for Kids. He asked her questions, she hesitatingly gave her answers. But it wasn’t until she started to apply these real-life skills through trial-and-error-based experiments that she finally started getting it.
If we’re being honest here, I even got a bit teary-eyed as I saw her starting to grasp concepts I assumed she would never be able to understand. She even enthusiastically told me when we were walking out to the car that “I would LOVE to have my birthday party here!”
If she was able to catch such a powerful glimpse at her potential after a brief two-hour tour, just think what their summer camps and after-school programs can do for your child.
Engineering for Kids’ week-long camps will keep your kids learning all summer long and they will have fun doing it! Programs range from the Engineering of Travel where they build planes, cars and rockets, to LEGO® Robotics WeDo Construction where your young engineer learns the basic mechanics of robots using gears, motors, pulleys and programming, to Kids Chemistry and Building Fun where they explore a wide range of chemical reactions. Be sure to go to http://www.engineeringforkids.net/denver for the full schedule.
Apprentice Engineers, Ages 2nd Grade to 5th Grade
3 hour camps (Monday – Friday); Morning or Afternoon Sessions
$149.00 on or before April 30, 2014 $169.00 after April 30, 2014
The cost of the camp is $149.00 per half-day session, prior to April 30, 2014. Create and account on their website to begin: https://www.iclassprov2.com/icpv2/parentportal/denver/register.
About Engineering for Kids
Engineering for Kids is a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based franchise offering a range of learning-based classes including after school programs, camps, evening classes, in-school field trips, workshops and even birthday parties for kids ages 4-14. Founded by Dori Roberts, Engineering for Kids has 15 locations throughout the United States, offering classes on Aerospace, Chemical, Civil and Industrial Engineering to help kids develop math and science skills.
Mile High Mamas is partnering with Engineering for Kids; all opinions express are our own.