By Noah Buttner and Christian Cangiano
The Design-Make-Play Innovation Camp program resumed this week at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Queens for kids in grades three through five seeking to learn more about science and technology.
The camps are designed to explore concepts in science, technology, engineering and math in order to inspire the next generation of innovators. Their focus ranges from App and Game design to Engineering and Animation.
Anthony Negron, the Manager of Digital Programing at NYSCI, believes that the programs are important in getting young people started at an early age with hands on projects in playful atmospheres.
“We’ve been really integrating technology into a lot of our programs and getting young people started at an early age on how to use these tools to really tackle issues and problems that are worth solving to them, and being creative and going through the design process to create really interesting and personal projects,” Negron said.
There is a lack of interest and ability in STEM fields according to a recent U.S. News and World Report, despite the ever-growing demand for workers in these areas.
In response to this increasing demand, NYSCI is attempting to encourage kids to get involved in STEM fields by having them participate in the Design-Make-Play STEM institute. This, paired with over 450 exhibits, demonstrations, and activities is what they hope will reignite that interest in the ways the world works.
“I actually came here once for a field trip,” Trisha Ramsamooj, an explainer at Monday’s App Design 101 camp, said. “My mom never really took us to museums, but when I came here a long time ago it was only one area, so seeing the changes as it expanded from traveling exhibits, to design labs and connected worlds makes you say ‘wow there is so much more to science and technology as the years are going by.’”
The museum, founded during the 1964 World’s Fair has grown to become a playground for students and children to experience and interact with science, serving over half a million attendees each year.
“I enrolled as a member because it’s necessary to be around this place often and give my kids the chance to learn the intricacies of science in a cool and personal way. Coming here again and again will make them appreciate Science a lot more,” Christopher Pagan, a parent at the museum, said.
Both at these Innovation Camps and in the hall itself, children are able to move and interact and witness science happening in real time. The camps are also aimed at turning what could be boring days off from school into an educational adventure.
“I think that this is an important place to take my kids. It’s so hands on and informative,” Derrick Ramdas, another parent, said. “Most museums are interesting, but don’t have that physical learning experience that they do here.”
The Design-Make-Play Innovation Camp runs now through February 23rd. Additional camps will run again for Spring and Summer recess in April and July.