How would you like to learn how a vacuum can be created using fire, water, and a glass?  What about what happens when you place an Alka-Seltzer tab in water and a bottle? Would you like to discover how to spell full words using only light? These are some of the many activities J3 Engineering Group shared with 2017 STEAM campers.

Last week, students in grades 4-6 participated in the STEAM program sponsored by Gathering on the Green, a local non-profit festival that focuses on educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) for kids in urban and suburban areas. J3 Engineering Group was thrilled to volunteer their time at locations throughout the Milwaukee area again this year and teach classes on working with optics and physics.

Class One: It’s Not Magic, It’s Physics

The physics of our world is truly fascinating, just ask any of this years youth participants. Our students were amazed at how one can poke a pencil through a bag of water and it won’t leak, or how a vacuum is created using the basic elements of fire and water. Using everyday items one might find at home, J3 instructors demonstrated the difference between magnetic forces, the explosiveness of some chemical reactions, and the physics of centrifugal force. These many experiments make “It’s Not Magic, It’s Physics” not only a fun class to take, but a fun class to teach as well!

Class Two: Exploring Optics and Optical Illusions

When you tell a class of 9-12 year olds that they get to graffiti the classroom, they may not believe you at first. But that’s exactly what students of our second class learned how to do, with light. The kids learned about the different types of light and how we see light and colors. They then got to experiment with light by creating words using different colored lights and a camera, known as “light graffiti”.

J3 Engineering Group is proud to support this program and others that encourage learning and innovation for both urban and suburban children. STEAM education in our communities and in our classrooms is a vital element of empowering our nation’s youth to become leaders in science and technology-related industries. The US Department of Education reports that the number of STEAM jobs in the U.S. will grow by 14% by 2020, much faster than the national job growth average, but the number of graduates in STEAM related fields is only growing by .08% annually.  Keeping kids involved, and in love, with science, technology and the arts is a crucial part of closing that gap and ensuring a successful next-generation of American ingenuity.

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