MAY 2018– LETTER FROM THE CMEE TEAM

CMEE’s STEM Mentors hard at work with their coding projects

 

Dear friends,

While CMEE is known primarily for promoting learning through play, we are also serving kids in our community with innovative science programs. Through the generosity of the Century Arts Foundation and the Long Island Community Foundation this year, the Museum is presenting Ciencia en CMEE, STEM Mentors, the Century Arts Coding Club and Science Connections where kids have the opportunity to direct their own projects using computer coding, math and robotics. Recently, we celebrated the students’ accomplishments with their friends, teachers and loved ones. As we evaluated another successful semester, it was gratifying to witness how excited the students were about their final presentations.

 

Robotic projects completed by students in the Museum’s “Science Connections” program

 

During the presentation of their final projects to family, friends, teachers, mentors and two members of our Science Advisory Board, Dr. Daniel Golombek and Dr. Robert Steiner, we asked the kids to reflect on what was the most important thing they had learned during the semester. Surprisingly, the students focused on the life lessons they learned rather than on the specifics of the class. For example, Mariana described how learning to code increased her ability to communicate. “Talking with each other is a life skill in coding. If you don’t talk with each other, you could be stuck for minutes or hours.” Kevin, Wesley and George added, “You have to read carefully to do coding well.” Sean wrapped up his presentation by sharing his biggest take away from the entire semester: “I learned that coding is difficult when you rush. You need to take your time.”  After hours of struggling with two-dimensional graphs, Mia and her team said that “graphing on x and y-axis is good for coding and good for life too.”

Gaby took what she learned in coding and designed an E-message with graphics to help draw attention to an issue that concerned her. Using computer graphics, she described a middle-school student comforting another student who was shamed by a teacher because the girl’s Spanish-speaking mother hadn’t understood directions that were sent home only in English.  At the conclusion of the story, the students agreed to work together to encourage the development of more bilingual materials. For Gaby, coding provided a creative platform for her to make a difference in her community.

A screenshot of Gaby’s coding project

Not only are students learning science, coding, and math during these afterschool programs at CMEE, they are developing empathy, communication skills, and a social consciousness. I am so proud that CMEE can play a role in nurturing children in our community – especially those who have limited access to other resources – and validate their parents’ hopes and aspirations. If you are interested in getting more involved with our educational outreach, please call or write me anytime at leah@cmee.org. We’re always eager to have more volunteers, mentors, and of course, financial contributions! Thank you, everyone, for all your support! As we say in Spanish, con mucho bezos y abrazos— with hugs and kisses.

Sincerely,
Leah Oppenheimer
Director of Community Outreach