“Learn by having fun”. Noosphere STEM Сamp, the course for children from Mariupol

08 Jul 2022

Noosphere STEM Сamp was held in Dnipro from June 20 to 23. It was a free training and entertainment course attended by 50 children from Mariupol.

The children’s convention was based on the principle of STEM education: “Learn by having fun.” In an interesting and accessible way, children learned programming, robotics, the laws of chemistry and physics, as well as the structure of the universe and how engineers design the spacecraft of the future, and archaeologists study the primitive lives of people in the past.

The basis of the Noosphere STEM Camp program was robotics — classes in engineering and robot programming took place every day.

The classes were based on the special VEX 123 and VEX GO constructors, which were provided for this course free of charge by the REC Foundation.

Noosphere and its founder Max Polyakov have long been promoting robotics. Specifically, BestRoboFest — the largest themed Ukrainian festival was held from 2016 to 2019.

Young engineers cheerfully designed models of space rockets, and then painted them with Petrykivka. They observed the stars and lecturers of the Planetarium Noosphere Dnipro, learned to operate a drone and conducted archaeological excavations. They even developed simple computer games!

Denis: “Is it possible for me to reassemble the rocket? In general, I love anything I can do with my hands. I had hundreds of origami, but they all burned down with the house.

In total, 52 events of various formats were held during the Noosphere STEM Camp: from master classes to lectures, games and quests.

Max: “I was given a 3D figure. This is from spare test parts. It looks like a scope, I want to put it on my toy gun somehow.”

A large team came together to work with the children: teachers, coaches, volunteers, and psychologists. In total, about 50 specialists staffed the event.

From the crowd of children, a fragment of a phrase: “The same thing happened to me in March. You come home, but your house is gone.”

The psychologists who worked on the course are convinced that the Noosphere STEM Camp format will help children adapt to new conditions faster, while at the same time regaining some balance in their torn lives:

– How does staying in the Noosphere STEM Сamp affect the children’s mental state?

In any situation, learning is good. In the current situation, learning is very good. The children lost their day-to-day life, the atmosphere that surrounded them. They lost a very significant aspect of life: home, kindergarten, school. Close contact with people, friends. Therefore, augmenting similar aspects contributes to the return to what is usual and stable for them. It greatly affects the emotional mood

– Many people mention shifting the focus of attention (from tragic situations to more positive ones), do you think this is actually happening, and does it help?

Without a doubt, kids get distracted pretty quickly.  In children, all this is much easier than in adults.

At times when the focus shifts from disturbing and tragic events, for example, to learning, children feel much more comfortable.

Such measures should be regularly implemented, if possible. It is good that there wass a middle and older group, where children were on classes without parents, so the parents had the opportunity to deal with important issues as well. Children spent a lot of time with their parents, which also affects the emotional state of both adults and children. Therefore, such initiatives should be encouraged at the state level.