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Discovery Launches Free STEM Summer Camp Materials

Discovery Communications is formalizing its programs related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) under an umbrella initiative called "Connect the Dots," intended to help young people make the link between STEM and their everyday lives. One new program under Connect the Dots is a bundle of free digital resources that can be used to put on STEM after school sessions or summer camps.

STEM Camp consists of a series of standards-aligned curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations, and parents for use as part of educational events. The materials combine hands-on and virtual labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, interactive videos, and career connections designed to engage students in STEM topics and connect them to specific careers. The program will track along with "grand challenges" identified by the National Academy of Engineers, encompassing STEM-related approaches to water, urban infrastructure, and energy. A webinar introducing the program will be held on May 7 at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

The water program, which is the first one available, provides five days of activities. Each day's resources include an overview, a presentation that walks facilitators through the activities including experiments and videos, a proposed schedule, and a list of materials needed. To access the site's resources, the user must register.

"Building STEM literacy among America's next generation of leaders is critical to meet the global challenges that lie ahead and prepare students for tomorrow's careers," said Discovery Education CEO Bill Goodwyn. "We know that learning doesn't stop when the class bell rings. After-school hours and summer months provide valuable opportunities to engage and excite students. Programs like Discovery Education STEM Camp maximize time spent outside traditional learning environments, keeping students inspired by learning and providing them with the tools they need today to compete for the jobs of tomorrow."

The media company produces nonfiction brands such as Discovery Education, the Science Channel, Mythbusters, Animal Planet, and HowStuffWorks. Connect the Dots adds to that list with the launch of a new science-focused series, The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius. This show pits teams of "geniuses" to solve "seemingly impossible engineering challenges."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.