Registration Opens for Empow’s STEM After School Club, which Features an Enhanced Curriculum
After a day of school, there are new learning options at Empow Studios’ STEM After School Club (ASC) for students who want to explore the digital world.
ASC registration has opened for the 2018-2019 school year in Lexington, and students can look forward to additional offerings.
“All of our curriculum is being updated for next year,” says Empow’s Director of Program Operations Matt Silverstein. “Students can expect new quests (challenges), new instructional resources, new gadgets and we’re also updating our game design curriculum to include 3D video game design with Unity. Students will be able to create their own 3D parkour game.”
New curriculum options are part of a move to continue to evolve in ways that enhance the educational landscape for students and offer the latest technology.
“We are continuing to develop projects that kids find authentic and relevant to the world they are growing up in and teaching them skills, new and old, to be successful contributors to it,” says Empow’s Learning and Curriculum Development Lead Bernardo Feliciano. “The tools and tech that we use in these areas may be ‘new’ or newly accessible to a larger portion of the population, but storytelling, collaboration, and problem solving remain skills that must be learned in these new contexts.”
Digital Options Evolve
Examples of staying in tune with current and useful skills are the updates to the digital audio and electronics curriculums.
“Students generally use two Digital Audio Workshops (DAW) to produce original music using the DAW’s loop library, MIDI components, and sometimes real time recorded audio,” says Empow lead instructor Teddy Murphy. “Teachers will guide students through song style/genre, general song form, and basic mixing techniques such as panning and volume control. The kids will come away with at least one, though more often two or three, mixed song projects and exported MP3s that they can listen to on any computer and most devices.”
The electronics curriculum allows students to advance from simple circuits and devices to more advanced Arduino projects.
“For ASC, the projects will start out with a circuit simulation application that is part of the TinkerCAD web program called Circuits,” says Empow senior instructor Paul Girardo. “I will go over basic electronics, batteries, components (resistors, capacitors, switches, buttons, LEDS, potentiometes, photo resistors, etc) and how to use the (virtual) breadboard in TinkerCAD/Circuits to create a circuit. After the kids get familiar with the physical components and building circuits I plan to go back to the TinkerCAD/Circuits and introduce using the Arduino Controller. Arduino projects will include controlling various LEDS through programming, controlling motors, building a tone “keyboard” , detecting various digital and analog inputs to the board (motion, light, sound), detecting objects/alarms, controlling an 8×8 LED matrix display, LCD display and 7-segment LEDs.”
Of course, learning extends beyond circuits and audio. Once homework is complete, students have a variety of options to choose from. “In ASC, kids have access to 3D printing, animation, coding (Scratch and Java), LEGO robotics, Minecraft, game design, music and audio production, etc.,” says Empow’s Brand Experience Manager Taylor Tutwiler. “I would say, compared to our other programs, kids in ASC have the most freedom since they have access to all of the tracks in our curriculum.”
In addition to the value of Empow’s STEM After School Club curriculum, students enrolled receive additional “Goodies & Perks:”
- FREE Weekend Clubs
- Pay in full and get the last month free (deal ends April 30)
- 10% off for Feb & April Vacation Camps
- No additional charge for those unexpected half-days, like professional development days
- Transportation to the Studio (see transportation plan here)
- One-day NanoCamps are $50 instead of $95
- Buddy passes to bring a friend for a day
Because slots do fill, it’s important to register early. The week runs Monday through Friday. Families can sign up for the number of days that works best for their schedules.
Thu: 12:00pm-3:00pm & 3:00pm-6:30pm*
*Thursday is a long day due to the Lexington early release schedule. Thursday consists of two blocks. For example, registering for a full week means selecting 6 blocks.
Empow Studios is securing transportation options for its 2018-19 STEM ASC at its Lexington studio, and will have updates soon. Registration fees are refundable until July 1st, so it’s best to register early to secure a slot.