COVID has disrupted learning globally but not equally. At-risk students have suffered greatly over the past few months with limited access to technology and no access to private enrichment support.
This summer, 3DuxDesign teamed up with the non-profit Urban Impact and education consultants at WhyMaker to offer a unique STEM experience for children at the Bridgeport PT Barnum public housing complex.
We designed a remote play-based learning program called The Empathy Game. The objective: Use 3DuxDesign Maker Kit materials to create a simple machine that will help people in the community. After mentor training, the program was entirely run by volunteers from within the community. Communications between students and mentors during the program were entirely limited to phone, smart phone or via loaned Chromebook.
Students began with an exploration of what it means to be a part of a community, something we sadly discovered many children have lost a sense of after 6 months of social distancing from COVID. The children then used the design thinking process and empathy to prototype adaptive structures to help support community members in need.
After a 7 week program, the 3Dux team was invited to see each student present their project at a graduation ceremony. One of the highlights of the event was the bold and confident proclamation from an 8 year old girl that she will, in fact, become an engineer when she grows up.
Session two is currently underway as are plans to continue remote STEM learning support over the fall and beyond.
We have designed a family-friendly version of The Empathy Game which can be done using simple materials in the home.