“Music in STEM” Spring Camp: Music to Our Ears

More than 40 students from various Chicago Public Schools (CPS), including Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, Corliss High School, Lake View High School and Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School, attended the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) “Music in STEM” spring camp from April 6-8th.

The program, hosted by the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) in partnership with After School Matters (ASM), gave high school students the opportunity to experience a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) college workshop taught by Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, and Evelyn Oropeza, SfT Program Coordinator. CCC undergraduates and SfT staff members Daniela Cortez, Tyler Davis, Filip Zadro, Maria Dantas, Jose Perez and Andrea Salcedo, along with graduate student Ignacio Mendez, also contributed in the building process.

For three full days, the students focused on building a well-tuned diatonic scale xylophone, and an electric organ based on fundamental electricity principles, which facilitated their understanding of the relationship between STEM and music.

Sixteen-year-old Lake View High School sophomore student, Oleh Lemishka, described the experience as eye opening and enriching. “I had never thought about music and science combined. In 15 hours I found the connection between these things,” Lemishka said.

Lemishka discovered the relationship between STEM and music, but was already aware of the advantage STEM programs offer him for the future. “It brought me a lot of college experience which is going to be helpful in two years. I experienced the pace of work of a college professor,” Lemishka said. Lemishka will continue exploring STEM courses during high school and plans to study a STEM related career in college.

For 15-year-old Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School student, Marvin Gladney, this learning opportunity was a challenging “roller coaster.” Gladney talked about the difference between high school teachers and college professors. “It was challenging at first because he (Caplan) is fast. Nothing like elementary school or high school where they take you hand by hand. You have to actually get it and earn it,” Gladney said. Gladney was glad he took the risk of applying and summed up his experience in his first STEM spring camp as full of “friendship, organization and cooperation.”

After 15 hours of building and learning, showtime was here! Students were ready to showcase the product of their work and the valuable lessons they took from the camp in front of their parents, teachers, SfT staff and distinguished representatives of ASM.

Anxiety was building up. Perfectly tuned xylophones served as background music. “I hear the xylophones, they sound in tune,” Marcelo said as he initiated the showcase.

The evening was followed by the presentation of a short video edited by Dave Morton, Director of CCC’s visualization lab, summarizing the student’s experience in the camp. https://vimeo.com/124526446

Then,  two students took the stage and shouted “1, 2, 1, 2, 3, go!” as they played “Mary had a Little Lamb” with their brand new xylophones. Other students talked about how the spring camp emphasized teamwork, organization, independency and most importantly linked the path between high school and college. “It wasn’t easy at all, it took time and knowledge,” said one of the students.

While the students took away valuable skills from the camp, their journey to college is only beginning! Scientists for Tomorrow and After School Matters are looking forward to seeing these dedicated students return and participate in the ComEd Youth Ambassadors and Junior Research Scientists programs next summer 2015!

Building the Xylophone February 21st PD

The Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program held their second Professional Development (PD) for this academic semester, for the module Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music. The PD was held Saturday, February 21st 2015 with thirty-six instructors from twenty-eight sites in attendance. In adittion we had a guest speaker, Linda Keane, from  www.Next.cc and Yahvi Pichardo from Rush Hour Music participating in the PD.

Several SfT student leaders from Columbia College Chicago attended the PD to document the event and help the instructors. Jose Perez and Martin Bayang, both Film majors and SFT videographers, took video of the PD to produce tutorials needed as a resource tool for instructors. Maria Dantas, a first year photography student took photos of the PD, while  Filip Zadro and Tyler Davis, both Audio majors and SfT instructors at Shields Middle School, participated in guiding instructors during the building process of the xylophone.  Daniela Cortes, a Film student was also in attendance, working side by side as the associate coordinator for the program  with Evelyn Oropeza and Marcelo Caplan.

Marcelo, associate professor in the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, began the PD at 9:00am by explaining the mathematics behind the construction of the wind chimes that were built during the last PD. Marcelo then moved along to the main lesson: the building of the xylophone. Instructors began the construction process at 11:00am, teaming up into groups of five to efficiently complete the xylophone on time.

There was a break halfway through the construction for a presentation on www. NEXT.cc given by Linda Keane, the creator of the website. Linda explained how her website explores digital media by leading students on a journey through across the board activities such as nanotechnology, architecture and ecology. The website is offered as a tool for instructors to guide students through the “five goals of environmental education:  Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes and Environmental Ethic, Citizen Action Skills and Citizen Action Experiences.”

After Linda’s presentation, instructors continued to work on their xylophones. Many instructors who have been through the Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music module before finished early and proceeded to help other participants who were still working. Some instructors finished constructing their xylophones as early as 12:30pm while others took the full four hours to complete theirs.

The PD ended at 2:00pm as intended. The SFT team will follow up the PD by sharing the Activity Journal folders with those who did not have access to the file and with new instructors. For more information on how you can get involved visit www.scientistsfortomorrow.org

 

SfT Community Sites to visit the Field Museum

All of the community members affiliated with Scientists for Tomorrow are invited to participate in our annual Family Science Day event at the Field Museum March 15, 2014. Participants will be exploring the exhibits, attending workshops and building hands on activities to take home.

If you would like to attend, contact your resource coordinator of the program at your community center/s. We look forward to seeing many Parents, Students, Staff and Volunteers. This will be an enjoyable and educational experience for all of the participants!

Field Museum 2014.pdf

Field Museum 2014