Let’s take a trip back in history. Two years ago, I ran for PTO President at the school my girls attend. The reason for this out-of-character decision for me was my shock at the lack of science offerings for my girls. At that time the news was constantly talking about STEM / STEAM* initiatives, trying to get children — especially girls — more excited about Science and Engineering. Yet, our school lacked all but the basic science books and minimal teaching aids. To be clear, this was not the fault of the faculty or even the school district. This is a public school and the money is just not there.
After winning my (uncontested) election, Our PTO Board, in combination with a very technology-forward Principal, set about improving the science and arts offerings for the school. Nearing the end of the 2015 school year, we had made a lot of progress, but I felt something was still missing. I decided to step down from the PTO and focus on the creation of an after-school Science Club.
Late Night Research
Four months ago I started spending late nights working on this project. Watching classic episodes of the great science educators like Bill Nye. Wandering through YouTube looking for something that would capture the attention of elementary school students, educate them on classic and modern science concepts, but not be the same science experiment you see at the science centers around the country.
Fast-forward to June 2016. I achieved a great success in convincing my wife to join my at EDC. For those not familiar, The Electric Daisy Carnival is one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the U.S. Based in Las Vegas, it is not only a fantastical musical experience, but a massive technological achievement. If you’ve been to a dance club in the last 10 years, imaging that club, 100x the size, holding 140,000 people.
Driving back from Vegas, I had my solution: A electronic dance music (EDM) festival for students, created by students, run by students. Clearly, this is not going to be the size of EDC, and some aspects of the festival will be removed to make it age-appropriate, but the main elements will be there: DJs, Music, Lights, Pyrotechnics, Videos, and Dancing. For the next two months my late night focus was building a curriculum, building a website, and building the equipment list to pull this off.
This website is the result of that effort. The lesson plan targets all STEAM aspects; including classical concepts like physics and chemistry, new technology like robotics and non-linear videos, and artistic concepts like music theory. It is still a work in progress, but I am going forward — looking for funding and school approval for our first festival.
Stay tuned and enjoy the journey with us.
*STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.