“What’s so Hot about STEAM?” – Courtesy of Local Entrepreneur, Marci Klein MD
If you have school age kids, you’ve likely heard of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Over recent years, it has become quite apparent that STEM jobs are on the rise in the US. But they’re not being filled by Americans. U.S. jobs are increasingly being given to foreign talent that have more training in computers, engineering and and technology because STEM education in American schools has lagged. Of coarse there’s no challenge in getting a child to play on their ipad. But getting your little one to learn computer programing, higher level mathemeatical calulations and complex 3D spatial thinking is not as easy.
That’s where STEAM comes in. The A in STEAM stands for art, but is is really more than just coloring. It’s about about incorporating the human experience, creativity, design thinking, and real life hands-on learning into education. Animals in nature don’t learn survival in a classroom, reading text books or by watching youtube videos. They learn by doing.
Observation, experimentation, and trial and error are the key to learning.
Take a simple Bridge Building lesson…
Classic education may have a student calculate the weight tolerance on a bridge based on formulas taught in class.
In a STEM program, you might make a model to test your calculations. You might be given the task of creating it in CAD on a computer.
With STEAM, a student thinks about the design of that bridge, and how will people use it. Should there be a bike lane or a path for pedestrians. Maybe a lookout point for the scenic view. How do the materials used and color of the bridge fit in with the city scape? These are questions a bridge engineer would need to consider in real life and they make an otherwise mundane lesson plan much more engaging.
3Dux/design architectural modeling sets encourage children to learn by doing. With reusable connectors and an endless supply of recycled cardboard as the raw material, children a free to imagine, create, decorate, evaluate and revise. Young designers can use the sets in open-ended creative play, practice fine motor skills and learn basic geometry and simple 3D spatial concepts. Older children can use math and engineering concepts to create more complex structures for fun or as part of a more structured lesson plan. Schools use 3Dux/design for a range of curricula including urban planning, STEM nights, game design, architecture and prototyping for invention clubs.
THE 3DUX STORY
3Dux/design is a true family business. Growing up in the Klein household required a good bit of creative thinking and improvising. Every year, holiday gift-giving had one rule:
“The best gifts are made with love, creativity and any materials already in the house rather than bought at a store.”
So while millions would flock to stores seeking the best Black Friday deals, the Klein family would be rummaging through the recycling bin for raw materials and heading into the basement for extra cardboard boxes to start their gifts.
It was truly amazing to watch odds and ends be transformed into townhouses, parking garages, kitty-kingdoms and hamster havens. Yes, even the family pets were involved.
The 3Dux/design ethos is that the best gift we can give our children is to allow them the freedom to create. Without pre-set rules and instructions (conspicuously absent from our modeling kits), children will learn to improvise, experiment, fail, reexamine, and succeed. These are the skill sets that will aid them through life challenges.
With the 3Dux/design Architectural Kits we encourage your children to experiment with form, function, creativity and deductive thinking.
3dux/design cofounder ayana klein working in the shop
Ayana Klein/co-founder 3Dux/design
Ayana is the Lead Product Developer and Graphic Designer of the 3Dux/design team. She is a senior in high school and is heading towards a career in engineering (or architecture, or industrial design, or business- well, you get the idea) where she can blend her love of the arts with her talents in math and science to create new products that will help solve today’s problems and keep our planet green.
cofounder of 3dux/design ethan klein working in the shop
Ethan Klein/ co-founder 3Dux/design
Ethan, Chief Engineer and Production Manager is a freshman in high school and already proficient in CAD and complex modeling, 3D printing, and CNC routing. His other passions include music and woodworking, He hones all of these skills by making his own guitars
THE SUPPORT STAFF
Marci, Product Development Consultant brings over 20 years of experience as a community pediatrician. With a solid understanding of child development, safety and health issues, she has helped gear the product design to be highly engaging, educational and developmentally appropriate. She is also Chief Assistant to the Principals (job is less formally titled Schlepper).
David is the Human Resources Consultant and helps to make sure the company has a strong foundation, is a good working environment, and resolves all Tweetle Beetle Battles between the principals and (maternal) support staff.
Hightop and Voodoo are the volunteer Quality Control Officers. Their duty is to make sure the cardboard models are structurally are stable, fun to play in, and make great scratching posts.
Goosebumps, the family gecko, is a silent partner.