Sept. 8, 2020
Minds in Motion zooms straight into your classroom – or home – this fall
STEM-based kids program offers weekend clubs, professional development or remote workshops for parents, teachers and homeschoolers alike
Every year, thousands of kids descend on the University of Calgary for clubs, workshops, and outreach programs to help them learn beyond the classroom. With the onset of COVID-19, keeping these opportunities alive got a bit harder. For Minds in Motion, an academic-based program that runs year-round, it was a challenge accepted with gusto.
“Our goal is to be an active member of the community and by continuing to run our program, we are able to do that. As a STEM-based program, technology, math, and engineering are more transferrable to online content. You can make a zipline in your home using dental floss and a cup or build a tower or a structurally sound bridge with things in your own home,” says Julia Sather, program co-ordinator for Minds in Motion.
Minds in Motion offers outreach workshops, professional development for teachers and pre-service teachers, and weekend clubs to keep kids busy during the upcoming colder months. While the clubs are paid programs, the outreach workshops and professional development are free of cost thanks to funding from Actua and the federal government’s CanCODE program.
- Photo above: Minds in Motion Girls Applied Science and Engineering weekend group creates chromatography flowers.
“We give kids a chance to interact with one another, either through remote or in-person opportunities that are physically distanced following AHS guidelines. Every parent has to make a choice on what they are comfortable with, but we are able to provide options that appeals to most parents.”
Clubs start on Sept. 19 and run until Nov. 21, 2020, with online and in-person for kids in Grades 2-6. Online weekend clubs will include time for homework assistance, focused on Applied Science and Engineering Club and Coding Minds – Minecraft Online.
“In the fall and winter, it’s often not the best driving conditions in Calgary. It gives families the option to do something fun on the weekends from home, when you might not want to get outside.”
Support for teachers and homeschooling
For teachers who are back in school this fall, Minds in Motion is available for remote workshops in the classroom. The program follows Alberta Education curriculum for STEM concepts, using digital literacy and technical skills.
“My Grade 4 students had an awesome online learning experience in the Minds in Motion workshop. It was great to see the material delivered online and how the workshop sparked the interest of my Grade 4s in knowing about buildings and their stability,” says Mrs. Deb, a Grade 4 teacher at Gobind Sarvar School.
Professional development opportunities for teachers and pre-service teachers include design thinking, digital literacy and STEM unplugged. “Some teachers might not have the confidence to teach coding and tech, so we help them come up with ideas to teach those areas,” she says.
“Design thinking – where you plan, prototype, test and reiterate – can apply to so many different curriculum concepts. Just because it’s social studies, doesn’t mean you cannot apply design thinking to it. It’s the same skills that engineers use every day, but it can work in every area.” All participants receive a certificate of completion for their portfolio.
“If families aren’t able to have their kids interact in-person, or making the choice to homeschool, it gives one more option for STEM curriculum,” she says. “You can invite us into the classroom or home for remote interactions that give you a break for a few hours and supplement their learning.”
Workshops and professional development sessions are flexible in times and dates and can be booked based on teachers’ or parents’ needs, pending availability. The program will offer the camps, workshops, and professional development in Winter 2021, with dates and times finalized in the coming months.
Visit Minds in Motion for the full program offering for Fall 2020 / Winter 2021.