A Carlsbad youth organization held its first in-person STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workshop since 2019 when COVID-19 mandates restricted public gatherings.
Inspired by Science invited 40 children to the Carlsbad Public Library on Dec. 4 to learn about energy through hands-on activities.
“It was so much fun,” said Inspired by Science founder Deena Antiporda. “It was so great to be back with the kids and to see their reaction to things.”
Antiporda said participants learned about electricity with snap circuit kits donated by Devon Energy.
“They got to learn how all the different components work together to create a circuit to create light and sound,” she said. “They got to work with a motor, there were speakers and little lamps to light up, and they got to learn the difference between a closed circuit and an open circuit.”
Inspired by Science has held annual summer camps since 2013, but the organization was forced to move the camps online in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Antiporda said the organization mailed science kits to kids so they could do STEM projects from home. She said the remote camp allowed the program to grow from 100 participants to almost 400.
While the in-person workshop could only reach a fraction of those kids, Antiporda said the children benefit from the personal interaction.
“It’s so different to be in the same room with the kids,” she said. “If they’re having problems with something you can help, you’re right there with them.”
Antiporda said the next step for the group will be to take part in the Carlsbad Public Library’s STEM club.
Library Director Sarah Jones said the STEM club is for children in first through fifth grades and will begin in January.
Jones said the club aims to get children interested in science and to supplement their education.
“Unfortunately a lot of the STEM subjects aren’t included in state testing, so elementary teachers around here don’t necessarily have the time or energy to fully cover some of them,” Jones said.
Jones said the library worked with Inspired by Science, teachers and local businesses to make the club possible.
Jones said seating is limited to 20 participants. Parents or guardians can register a child by visiting the library in person or calling 575-885-6776.
A second Inspired by Science workshop is scheduled for Nov. 11.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 575-628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.