One of the prevailing issues within the education system is its emphasis on rote memorization, which prioritizes repetition to keep information over nurturing critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Recognizing the importance of empowering learners to become creative innovators, critical thinkers, and problem-solvers, biologist, epidemiologist, and educator Kim Magloire made it her mission to develop curriculum and hands-on experiences to transform children into budding scientists through SciTech Kids.
SciTech Kids is an educational institution in New York dedicated to igniting young minds through immersive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) experiences. The school offers diverse programs designed for children aged three to 15 that go beyond traditional academic approaches. As a leading provider of STEM enrichment programs, SciTech Kids utilizes an innovative methodology comprising a series of comprehensive steps, the first involving presenting a problem prevalent in the real world.
The institution acknowledges that an effective method to make students understand the relevance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is to see how it actively solves real-world problems, such as improving bridge design or green renewable energy. Therefore, the next step of the methodology focuses on introducing and integrating relevant STEM content to the topic of choice or the issue being addressed.
What makes SciTech Kids’ methodology stand out further is its application of Design Thinking. Design Thinking is a tool that allows students to solve problems by first crafting significant queries before brainstorming to generate possible solutions. As Kim beautifully put it, "The kids’ questions and ideas are at the center of the learning experience." With this powerful tool, learners can accurately identify a problem, collaborate with peers, develop solutions involving product design (3D printing, robotics, etc.), and engage with expert scientists, innovators, and instructors. Kim has recently announced that AI tools will be incorporated into every aspect of problem-solving.
In essence, rather than solely focusing on STEM and STEAM, SciTech Kids uses Design Thinking to empower the next generation of young makers, allowing them to find creative solutions to complex challenges not only in their respective communities but also in the world. With this, the following steps encompass working in collaborative teams to witness how diverse mindsets foster innovation and then testing (and re-testing) solutions.
SciTech Kids underscores the significance of integrating empathy into the heart of its methodology. Its emphasis on understanding problems from various perspectives and involving the people affected in the solution process reflects the importance of empathetic innovation. "If you're trying to come up with a solution, you need to put yourself in the shoes of whoever you're solving the problem for,” the founder stated.
Magloire’s story of a seven-year-old student during the COVID-19 outbreak perfectly encapsulates the revolutionary impact of SciTech Kids’ methodology. The founder recounted how a little boy pondered on the pandemic's uncertainties during its peak in 2020, seeking guidance from her, an epidemiologist. Rather than stressing about the vaccine still being developed, the child proposed an alternative solution, questioning, "Everybody's focusing on the vaccine. What if the vaccine takes a year? Why can't we come up with some other solutions? Why can't we break the legs of the virus, prevent it from latching onto cells?"
The seven-year-old asking to disrupt the virus's actions at different stages is a display of an astounding level of critical thinking cultivated by SciTech Kids' methodology. Kim underscored the importance of this encounter: "He was one of my strongest students who mastered the way to think things through in a way that we don't do in school." This story highlights how SciTech Kids empowers young minds to question, analyze, and propose innovative solutions.
Ultimately, SciTech Kids's methodology allows for the creation of a learning environment that instills essential skills like critical thinking, creativity, and empathy among students. The innovative educational institution actively seeks partnerships aligned with its mission to transform education by encouraging a passion for STEAM learning in young minds. These collaborations would help expand its reach and impact more students, paving the way for the next generation of creative thinkers and leaders.
Name: Kim Magloire
Email: [email protected]