For today’s student, a solid foundation in STEM – an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math originated by the National Science Foundation – is invaluable. Parents and teachers continually seek activities that spark students’ imaginations and prepare them for the modern workforce. Whether exploring rockets, robots or radio waves, a variety of experiments and activities expand a student’s knowledge of underlying core principles in STEM disciplines. The importance of STEM is far-reaching—education experts say that our country’s ability to improve and thrive relies upon giving our kids a solid foundation in math and science. We’ve listed 5 terrific resources below for STEM activities in the East Valley and beyond that will help students learn what it takes to succeed in college and explore careers in the STEM fields.*
  1. HeatSync labs STEM programs East ValleyHeatSync Labs is a community-driven non-profit workspace right here in Mesa. Eengineers, artists, students, and hobbyists come to make prototypes, art, and other creative projects. Bring your project and find the tools, resources and tech know-how to assist you.HeatSync has special events for Young Makers and other specialized dates such as Robot Night, Craft Night, 3D Printing night and more. They describe Young Maker Night as a “free form workshop night for passionate kids and their parents. We work with driven young people to empower them to turn their ideas into reality.”Contact information and location: Email youngmakermentors@heatsynclabs.org for more information on Young Makers Night or contact them via their Discussion Group for general information. Located at 108 W. Main St., Mesa. FREE.
  1. ASU STEM program is a great opportunity for any children to partake in science learningArizona SciTech Festival is a statewide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math held annually in February and March, but the site compiles STEM events that take place year round. If you click on “Events” and mark the box for “Southeast Valley,” you’ll find a multitude of free local events at different locations in Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler.Spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Arizona SciTech Festival is a grass roots collaboration of over 700 organizations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12.Contact information and location: AZSciTech contacts and newsletter sign-up: https://azscitech.com/contact-us/. Click on individual events for location information. FREE.
  1. ASU STEM programASU Night of the Open Door 1. is a wonderful STEM-based event in February at all five Arizona State University campuses, including the Polytechnic Campus just moments from Cadence at Gateway. As a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival, children of all ages are invited to explore hundreds of interactive activities demonstrating renewable energy, 3D printing, flight simulation, algae research, robotics and much more.Thrill seekers, lifelong learners, science gurus, arts enthusiasts and adventure seekers are sure to find something of interest. Night of the Open Door celebrates that kids today are smart, tech savvy, and more involved in their own educational experiences than ever before!Contact information and location: Visit https://opendoor.asu.edu/ and click on the campus you would like to visit to find events and free tickets. Activities are held on different dates, so you could attend events at all 5 campuses. FREE.
  1. STEM programs in the east valleyEngineering for Kids, East Valley is a family-owned business that began when Dori Roberts, Founder and CEO, noticed that there was a lack of engineering programs in the area to enroll her then 6 and 8 year old children. The organization now has 145 locations in 21 countries, including the East Valley.Engineering for Kids offers science, technology, engineering, and math enrichment programs, summer camps and even STEM-focused birthday parties. Kids 4-14, can follow their interests and find a program in fields such as aerospace, mechanical and chemical engineering, and tech curriculum including robotics, video game design, programming, and MinecraftEDU.Contact information and location: Varied locations in the East Valley. 480-779-8184, eastvalley@engineeringforkids.net. There is a fee for programs and payment plans are available.
  1. CodaKid, with a location in Gilbert, offers both online instruction and camps in coding and game design, teaching kids how to build games, apps, and Minecraft mods using real programming languages and professional tools. The courses are engineered to teach kids not only how to design and code, but to thoroughly understand the concepts so that they can perform them on their own.Founder David Dodge is a game designer and software architect who began working in product development for SEGA in the early 90s, and later designed top-rated games for the Sony Playstation and the PC. Their core values are to “work with diligence, think outside the box and create fun and a little wackiness.” CodaKid a winner of the 2016 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.There are several locations in the Valley, including one in Gilbert at Val Vista Lakes Elementary School. Mostly for ages 7-15, but flexible. The online courses are self-paced and can be taken anytime. Students will watch HD video lessons, pause the videos, code, design, and then test their work. A friendly instructional team is there every step of the way with support. Contact information and location: Seven locations, one in the East Valley. Call 480.405.2734 or email hello@codakid.com. Cost is $149 for 12-month access for online instruction, or $499 for a week-long, full day camp.
*Some of the STEM resources we mention incorporate the arts, expanding the STEM acronym to STEAM. An example might be a dance student who prototypes his or her own “electroluminescent costume” which uses electrical currents to light up the fabric. Interested in more tips for East Valley living or new home options, resort-style pools, parks, trails and more in Mesa’s newest Master-planned community? Sign up at http://cadenceaz.com/contact/