Starting in July, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust will implement a new educational program called STEM Boxed Kit Experience.
The home delivery service seeks to promote interest in STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by sending boxes with activities and learning materials. Each package will include specialized scientific tools that will promote STEM education to a maximum of 120 students, the nonprofit said.
In response to the current public health crisis as a result of COVID-19 and the need for new forms of distance learning, this program seeks to offer a physical and tactile alternative for those young people who are interested in scientific and technological subjects, said Jorge Valentine, director of the STEM educational program.
The Science Trust, through its STEM Education Program and the collaboration of Emergent Tools and North Carolina State University, designed two “boxed kits” with different themes: engineering applied to agriculture and virtual reality applied to 3D design.
Each one contemplates approximately a week of duration for its assembly and execution. Students will connect in remote sessions with program facilitators several times a week as they work on their projects at home.
“At present, education in Puerto Rico is going through a stage of transformation. We’re witnessing a new reality focused on useful tools for distance learning. So, we decided to innovate in the way that we traditionally reach students,” said Valentine.
“Through the STEM Boxed Kits, those young people who cannot participate in summer camps or face-to-face workshops will be able to benefit from accessible learning from the comfort of their home,” he said.
The boxed kit focused on Virtual Reality and Three-Dimensional Design (3D) is aimed at high school students. This box will include various materials that promote 3D manipulation, including a pair of “Google Cardboard VR” glasses. This will allow the student to work and manage virtual reality. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with an expert facilitator in the area.
The second boxed kit, aimed at middle school students, will focus on Engineering applied to Agriculture. In this case, the box will include tools for the preparation of various projects, including miniature hydroponic prototypes and mobilization systems (conveyor belts), among other specialized equipment.
The program will be divided into 60 participants per week. Those interested have until July 8 to register. Spaces available while they last, the Trust said.