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STEAM adds "Art", prepares Redding kids for future

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REDDING, Calif. - What used to be known as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), has been upgraded to STEAM. The "A" stands for art.

Kids ages 8 and older in Redding practice STEAM through MLK's after-school program. Wednesday night's activity involved designing and building lunar thermoses to insulate cups of hot and cold water using materials such as sand, Styrofoam and bubble wrap.

After answering some questions about temperature and brainstorming their designs, the kids started building. One of the center's recreational leaders, Michele Eigenman, said the kids really have to apply STEAM in order to accomplish the task at hand, but are also having fun while learning and engaging in the activities.

"Here we get to focus on making it really exciting and fun and we don't have to follow strict curriculum," Eigenman said.

In response to the added "A", Eigenman, who has her degree in plant science, said, "I think you can observe the world around you and display that as art or science."

Gloria Kimbwala, the mother of a STEAM student who has her masters degree in computer science with an emphasis in software engineering, said she and son Bentley code together for fun. She said STEAM further connects them through the emphasis on disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

"This was another area where we got to kind of share our nerdy likes together and kind of enjoy each other's time," Kimbwala said.

As a professional in the field, she said it's important kids begin acquiring these skills at an early age.

"The technology and the engineering, the arts the math aspect all kind of goes around thinking outside of the box and finding solutions to difficult problems, and so, those type of skill sets are important," Kimbwala said.

"It's really taught me how to make stuff...and I also do science at Montessori as well," said 8-year-old Bentley, emphasizing that he is exposed to STEAM both in and out of the traditional classroom setting.

The free STEAM program is offered September 13 through December 13. To enroll your child, click here. Enrollment is ongoing.

To learn more about STEAM, click here.

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