STEAM series for middle schoolers returns to Washtenaw Community College in August

Monthly workshops led by WCC faculty members

Washtenaw Community College campus in Ann Arbor. (Washtenaw Community College)

ANN ARBOR – The annual Super STEAM Saturdays series at Washtenaw Community College will kick off on Aug. 13 for area middle school students.

The free events are run by WCC faculty members and are designed to introduce students to careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The workshops feature fun and interactive learning activities, and interested elementary and high school students are also encouraged to register. Events will be both online and in-person on WCC’s campus.

See the full 2022-2023 lineup, according to a WCC release:

August 13: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Coloring our Universe, Tiffany Fields

The universe is full of color, wonder and incredible things. Telescopes both on the ground and in space help us see what is beyond our planet so we can learn about the galaxy and the universe around us. However, the beautiful colorful images that we see usually aren’t made the same way that our cell phone might take an image. They usually start as just black and white pictures. With a bit of science and art combined, we can start to see the color in our universe. Through an online presentation and a virtual activity, students will get to learn a bit about light, the electromagnetic spectrum, telescopes and creating images for themselves!

September 24: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Optical Illusions: Do You See What “Eye” See?, Paola Vega-Torres

Have you ever wondered how optical illusions work? In this fun and interactive session we will dive deep into optical illusions. We will look at several different types of illusions and discover how the brain works.

October 1: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Fido And The Gray Wolf: Genetics and Conservation Genetics, Emily Thompson

Learn about the genetics of your dog and its close cousin, the gray wolf. Watch a demonstration experiment simulating genetics studies that you can perform later at home. Explore why gray wolves are endangered in Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park. Find out how applications of genetic studies can save the gray wolf and other endangered species.

November 5: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Why Scientists MUST be Artists: A look into the disciplines of creativity, artistry, and altruism to STEM Innovation, Michael Naylor

This session offers a look into the qualities and mindsets of artists and promotes innovation and risk-taking, thinking out of the box and problem-solving, all cornerstones of STEM innovation. What we learn the closer we look at successful artists and geniuses in STEM fields is that they all thrive on innovative art.

December 3: In-person (1-2 p.m.)

Cool Chemistry, Tracy and Eric Schwab

Led by WCC Chemistry professors, students will build molecular models of everyday chemicals, gain experience using various chemicals and equipment and also solve several mysteries and crimes such as coin counterfeiting.

January 28: In-person (10 a.m.-Noon)

Dinosaurs!, David Wooten

Did you know there were over 1,000 different species of dinosaurs? Join a WCC biology professor for a unique opportunity to observe, touch, measure, and learn about dinosaur features from life-size 3D printed models! Participants will learn about paleontology, how to measure skull, teeth and bones for research, and discover how scientists use anatomical features to unlock the mysteries of dinosaur ecology and evolution.

February 4: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Science Poetry, Tom Zimmerman, Maryam Barrie and Ernesto Querijero

Students will learn poems written about science and all its complexity and beauty. Poetry is a powerful way to engage your intellect imaginatively. Prepare to be surprised.

March 18: TBD (1-2 p.m.)

Climate Change: Science, Scenarios, and Solutions, Smita Malpani

A fun, interactive and informative session that focuses on the science of climate change.

April 1: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Fun with Probability, Nicole Klemmer

Students will explore fun and practical applications of probability and statistics, investigating classic probability problems, play games and find ways to connect probability and statistics to everyday life.

May 13: Virtual (1-2 p.m.)

Persuasion from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’: The Pitch Technique, Claire Sparklin

You have great ideas, but do you ever have trouble convincing other people that your idea is great? Have you ever worked in a group and couldn’t get them to use your solution? Or tried unsuccessfully to influence your teacher to extend a due date? You need a quick, persuasive approach that you can remember right when you need it to get your point across. You need the pitch technique! In STEAM fields, it’s important to know your idea’s worth and communicate to stake holders. Come to this active, hands-on session to practice the pitch technique and start hearing a lot less “no” and more “yes”!

June and July dates have yet to be announced, but one will feature WCC alumna Aisha Bowe, an engineer and rocket scientist who worked for NASA and the founder of LINGO coding kits for students.

To learn more and to register, click here.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.