EXCEL with STEM Program Summary
Over the past two decades the United States has been slowly declining in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. To address this trend, the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles has developed an experiential learning science program which will be run from our YMCA Camp Whittle location in Big Bear Lake, California. YMCA Camp Whittle was founded in 1958 at an elevation of 7,200 feet, encompassing 136 acres in the National Forest and can serve up to 450 individuals at a time. Our unique combination of alpine climate, natural meadow, towering pines, crystal steams, abundant wildlife and unsurpassed mountain beauty make us the perfect setting for hands on experiential learning in the great outdoors.
The EXCEL with STEM program will provide students in grades 5th -8th with a hands on learning experience in the areas of land, sea and sky in our theme of "Discovery." All participants will receive instruction in an experiential learning environment addressing the following: paleontology, ocean exploration, aeronautics, telescopes, ocean animals and satellites to name few.
A second component is our teacher training module. Not only will students be engaged in activities which foster critical thinking and innovation, but teachers will be able to take seminars and modules on teaching hands-on science and technology in the classroom. Teachers will also receive resources and methodologies to help maximize STEM time in the classroom.
The ultimate objective is for students to take back a newly found interest in STEM, nurture it in the classroom setting and carry their critical thinking skills into lives of innovation.