“The STEM of a flower clutches beauty, but the STEM that is taught holds up a community.”


by Susan Klimczak -

Digging out of the happy chaos at the end of a maker program is always a challenge!

I'm finishing up the last payrolls, trying to put the lab back in order after 34 youth teachers produced socially conscious inventions and hundreds of children bounced through making small projects that introduced them to the creative possibilities of STEM, as well as getting youth teachers to write thank you letters and complete reflection surveys.

While putting together a video about this year's Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn, I was moved by the way that youth engaged in making. . . and each other. . . with the technologies of the heart that not only connected them to STEM, but also to each other and their communities. 

Before they went out to teach 600 children at 25 Boston community organizations this summer, the youth teachers created poems, steps and raps to capture what they wanted to share with the children. I used some excerpts of these in the video because I found them moving:

“The STEM of a flower clutches beauty; the STEM that is taught holds up a community.” -- Joshua Yu, youth teacher

"Adding technology to your psychology, have no fear you're an engineer!" -- Xia Josiah Faeduwor, college mentor

"Technology helped me figure out who I wanted to be: An engineer who teaches others, be they sisters or brothers!" -- Faria Kader, youth teacher

"Coding the world, one language, one person, one mind at a time." -- Tyla Smart, youth teacher

"Learn 2 Teach, everyone stand up to reach!  Technology is the new state of mind. We need to use it for good so the world doesn't go blind!" -- Ahmad Mims, youth teacher

Teaching with love that's what we do. . . disguised with technology we are teaching the youth.  This all started from a dream. . . made possible by the great Mel King. . . and as we take to the streets we should remember one thing:  The goal is to inspire and to create opportunities through love. . .to make all the youth soar above like doves.  Peace.  -- Jamison Jacques, youth teacher

I am privileged to witness our youth lead the way, understanding and lifting up how "making" is a great way to learn, but more importantly it is a tremendous opportunity to express and make real our shared humanity.  Yes, personal learning can and will happen . . but  it can also help to instill in youth the belief that they have within them the capacity to "make" the world work for everyone.

Within the unbelievably tight administrative constraints that public school teachers have to nimbly navigate, youth remind us to take time to reimagine what education can truly be.

More than ever, I believe that maker education can and should have, at its heart, solving problems with a purpose.  When I listen carefully to the wisdom of the youth, I am growing my conviction that maker education should be about solving the cultural, economic, social problems in our community using the creative possibilities of technology.

Here is the little video I made to help the youth. . . and me. . .reflect on what we did together in seven months and what we accomplished: