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Summer STEM!

Summer is almost upon us!  Kids are stoked and families are excited to spend some quality time together with longer days and relaxing moods before we recharge for another adventurous school year. The great thing about learning is that it doesn’t have to depend on being in school. People learn new things every day and learning is most enjoyable when it’s rooted in relevancy.

The University Preparation Charter School (UPCS) community is continually striving to provide these types of learning experiences to students and teachers not only during the school year but also during the summer. As a professional development school, we take it upon ourselves to be leaders in educating new and veteran teachers with numerous continuing education opportunities and we are kicking off this summer for the third time with the Ventura County STEMposium. This FREE week of teacher learning is made possible through a partnership with CSU Channel Islands and the Bechtel Next Generation of Educators Initiative Grant.

Mornings begin with inspirational keynote workshops followed by model lessons presented by local teacher leaders. This year we are focusing on building 5E unit plans to truly foster student-driven inquiry based learning. In the afternoons, the participants will choose from a variety of short courses highlighting hot topics in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The week culminates in a FREE morning of STEM activities for kids.  On Friday, roughly 100 students attend the STEMposium Kid Day to watch a science show and participate in various STEM stations sponsored by kidSTREAM, an emerging children’s museum. Teacher participants will be running each booth, asking the students questions to facilitate their understanding of the activity. Asking questions is the best way to encourage learning and you can do it too!

If you are unable to send your child to activities like the STEMposium Kid Day, you can still create meaningful learning experiences with your kids by asking high-quality questions. Next time you’re out and about with your family, look for everyday phenomenon and encourage your kids to ask questions about it.


Try these on for size:

  • “How do you know?”
  • “What makes you think that?”
  • “Why do you think that is important?”
  • “What do you mean by that?”
  • “Can you explain that to me?”
  • “What do you think is going on?”
  • “How has your thinking changed about that over the last few days/weeks/months?”
  • “Can you tell me more about that?”

Click here for more information about the VC STEMposium.

The Ventura County STEM Network has collected a listing of summer STEM opportunities in Ventura County.  If you know of a program that is not on our list, contact us!

This blog entry was submitted by Annie Ransom, STEM teacher at University Preparation Charter School, and a Founding Board Member of the kidSTREAM Children’s Museum in Camarillo.

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