June 13, 2022
Giveducation Delivers STEM Camp at KIPP Academy Middle School
HOUSTON, TEXAS — Giveducation Corporation held a free STEM Camp for students at KIPP Academy Middle School on Saturday and Sunday, providing campers with a tremendously enjoyable and uniquely educational experience. The two-day program — which was made possible by a generous grant from Dow Chemical Company’s Promise Program — represented the latest progress in Giveducation’s ongoing effort to stifle educational inequality.
Since March, Giveducation’s team — led by 11th-grader Benjamin Who and comprised mostly of student volunteers — worked to prepare a curriculum that would capture students’ interests and teach them new concepts in the fields of STEM. Ultimately, the group landed on three classes that represented a unique compilation of subjects that campers would love. “Above all, we wanted our camp to make learning fun,” Who said. “That’s why we designed classes that you don’t often see in schools.”
In Robotics led by volunteers Amelia Xu, Wenda Huang, Chen Wang, Jerry Zeng and Claire Xu, students learned about how gear's structure and function in complex machines and experimented with their designs by constructing cars out of LEGO’s Technic building system. The hands-on experience gave students the opportunity to test their thinking in practice — and evoked intense, hearty competition as campers sought to create the most efficient design possible. “I had a lot of fun during the competitions because I could try out a bunch of my different ideas” said Emmanuela Ezenwa, who is a rising 7th-grader at KIPP.
Students construct a car using LEGO's Technic building system during Robotics class.
Student volunteers Sanskriti Manoharan, Anna Yi, Richard Yi, and Elena Kang taught campers mental math tricks during Fun Math, giving students the tools to speed up their thinking process during math class in school. Students learned how to quickly multiply double-digit numbers, identify if a number is divisible by three, and multiply numbers by 25. They applied these new concepts in a game of trivia, during which teams raced to ring their buzzer and answer a math question.
Campers deliberate about how to solve a question during math trivia.
In Thinking Games, volunteers Benjamin Who and Edward Kang made ethical concepts accessible to a middle-school audience, introducing big concepts like utilitarianism and deontology in easy-to-understand terms and connecting it with STEM topics like self-driving cars. Using classic examples like the Trolley Problem and modern-day dilemmas like MIT’s Moral Machine, an interactive autonomous car decision-making experiment, students learned to make decisions using different ethical frameworks. “What we’re doing in utilitarianism is counting value and choosing whichever option gives society the most value,” said Abdulazeez Dawodu, a rising 7th grader at KIPP who calls utilitarianism ‘Batman-ism’ because it reminds him of the superhero’s utility belt.
Students show the poster they created in Thinking Games, which depicts how a self-driving car would react using different ethical frameworks.
The camp represented the latest in Giveducation’s efforts to identify motivated students and provide them with high-quality educational resources. 94% of KIPP Academy Middle School’s students receive discounted or reduced-price lunch, and for most of them (84%), the STEM Camp was their first academic camp experience ever. “We knew there was a strong lack of access within this community, so we decided to partner with KIPP to serve their students,” Who said.
In addition to Giveducation’s volunteer team, others worked tirelessly to make the experience possible for students. Ashly George, a teacher at KIPP, served as the liaison between the school and Giveducation, facilitating the registration and communication process. Dow Chemical — in addition to providing funding for the camp t-shirts and free lunch for students — named its employee Aimin Xu as the project sponsor to assist the student volunteers in their instruction.
The outsized effort by Giveducation, Dow Chemical Company, and the student and adult volunteers delivered a uniquely memorable experience for the campers. As Alexey Castro, a rising 6th grader, put it, “This camp was AMAZING!”
Many thanks to other Giveducation volunteers, Jonathon Li, Xin Hu, Ning Kang, Karen Zhou, and Jesse Hu for their contribution to the success of the event.
The volunteer team at KIPP Academy Middle School.