Girls getting into science, technology at Delavan-Darien this summer

DDHS Math Teacher Steven Cervantes works with a group of middle school girls at the new STEAM Camp at Phoenix Middle School. Click pic for more images in our gallery.

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DELAVAN — A weeklong summer course has nearly 30 Delavan-Darien middle school girls getting into science this summer.

A summer “STEAM” Camp, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, will have 28 sixth, seventh and eighth graders from Phoenix Middle School making metal flowers, vinyl sticker designs, nametags, bridges and much more.

They’ll be the first users of the brand new Fab Lab at Phoenix Middle School, putting newly-installed machines such as laser engravers, vinyl cutters and 3-dimensional printers through their paces. (RELATED: https://ddschools.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/governor-invests-in-delavan-darien-for-fab-lab-equipment-training/)

An approximately $5,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will fund the course, aimed at getting more females into technology, engineering and math courses at the high school level.

“We’ve seen a relatively small number of girls in our engineering courses or having career goals in engineering,” said DDHS technical education teacher Mike Fellin. “We felt this grant really fit our goal of getting more girls interested in those types of courses. We haven’t had a robust middle school program, so we felt this was a way we could maybe get that going, too. We’re trying to generate interest in the middle school so we can strengthen that program again, which will further strengthen our high school programs.”

Fellin said he was influenced by a television news report of an after-school woods club for girls going on at a school district north of Milwaukee. That program saw continued growth and interested, and Fellin is hoping for similar results.

“We’re going to be introducing them to the same tools we use at the high school, including our Fab Lab equipment, Inventor 3-D drafting programs and other graphic arts programs and applications,” Fellin said. “It really is a crash course, and I hope it generates a lot of excitement for our incoming high school students in the coming years.”

“The summer camp will include a variety of activities for the girls that will teach them basic concepts about engineering, and going along with that, have math and arts are incorporated into those activities,” said Cindy Yager, district director of careers and occupations. “There are a number of hands on projects they’ll be doing in the school’s new Fab Lab.”

Joining Felling in teaching this summer program are DDHS teachers Alexus Metten, science; Carl Grunewald, technology education; Kris Slawson, business and engineering; Amanda Vogt, art; Steven Cervantes, math; and Terri Brown, a family and consumer education teacher at both DDHS and Phoenix Middle School.

About a half-dozen DDHS upperclassmen from the Engineering Design and Development class will also be volunteering to help out.

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