Arizona 2015 STEM Adventure
Last Friday, I helped students learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This was the annual [2015 Arizona STEM Adventure] event in Tucson, Arizona. This year, Pima Community College Northwest Campus provided the venue.
The event hosted more than 900 students, ranging from fourth to eighth graders. Buses collected them from 31 schools across seven cities and towns in the Tucson area. Home-schooled, private-schooled and charter-schooled children participated as well.
I was just one of 130 volunteers. IBM, [Raytheon], [Pima Community College], [Agents of STEM], [SARSEF, [StemAZing], [Office of Pima County School Superintendent], [UA Stem Learning Center], and other individuals volunteered their time to make this happen.
As I arrived, students lined up to ride this "hover chair". A lawn-blower motor floated a chair attached to a platform. A blue tarp represented water. Volunteers would pull the hover chair across the tarp, giving the kids a fun ride. I wanted to ride it myself, but it was not engineered for my body weight!
Students chose among the most interesting of 50 exhibits. IBM led two of these exhibits.
First, we had the [Bike Wheel Gyroscope]. The students would stand on a rotating swivel platform, holding a spinning bicycle wheel. When the student tipped the wheel left or right, the students body would rotate on the platform!
Second, we had Share with Storyboarding. This is the one I volunteered for. IMHO, the best part of STEM is the Arts and Design aspect needed to make products usable. Perhaps we should rename STEM to STEAM to add "A" for Arts and Design.
We held six 30-minute sessions with each group of students. Our team lead, Brenton Elmore, IBM Design Principal, explained what storyboards are, and then gave the students five topics to choose from:
Children paired up in two-person teams based on their topic interest. Why teams? Many creative collaborations involve the strengths of different teammates. For example, an author and an illustrator work together to create a comics or children's book. Broadway musicals often have a writer and composer.
Each team spent 10 minutes to draw a six-panel storyboard on [Post-it notes]. These would be stuck to a single sheet of paper. The team then would write underneath each panel the narrative of what was occurring.
Brenton taped five or six of these to the wall to share with the rest of the class. Each team would then explain to the other students what they drew, and the narrative to go with it.
When there were an odd number of students, one of us volunteers paired up with a student. Shown here is Marilynn Franco, IBM Manager, helping young Bailey in explaining their storyboard. I helped young Lili with her storyboard about a new mobile phone app idea she had.
Storyboards are an essential part of IBM's [Design Thinking]. We use them in a variety of ways, from designing business strategies and product enhancements, to creating videos about the [IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center]!
When I make presentations to clients at briefings or conferences, I use 36 slides per hour. Each PowerPoint slide serves like a storyboard panel, and I provide the narrative on each one.
Special thanks go to Kathy Carlisle, IBM Tucson Site Operations Manager, and Mike Hernandez, IBM IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager, for setting this up!