This year’s program theme was Building a Future Ready Paterson and centered on four of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Clean Water & Sanitation, Affordable & Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities & Communities and Responsible Consumption & Production. Students explored various ways that they can improve the quality of life in their city via increased public transportation options, locally sourced food and the use of renewable energy.
An increase participation compared to last year, 65 middle school aged students engaged in hands-on, skilled-based learning opportunities to explore these themes and then apply their learning to Paterson-specific issues. These learning activities enhanced their in-school STEAM education and built their capacity to address local issues through collaboration and creative problem solving. Students visited the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and surrounding sites throughout the historic district, the National Museum of the American Indian’s ImagiNATION exhibit, The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Hoboken’s various green infrastructure community projects to gather relevant data, consider novel approaches and differing perspectives on the various issues.
Students worked with electrical circuits and solar panels to power a variety of devices. They also built and raced hydro and solar powered cars and compared the pros and cons of each type of technology. Several students worked with MIT App Inventor for their final projects. Students in the photography class worked with a camera obscura. Students in the music technology class used a variety of online music composition programs to create their songs. They also further explored the program themes through studio art classes with master artists where they created sculptures, photo journals and music. Teachers and informal educators on staff also engaged in embedded professional development experiences throughout the program.