Photos submitted by Jared Wittekind
Students of Ely Chapman’s summer program trap Jared Wittekind, makerspace director for Building Bridges to Careers, inside a straw playhouse during engineering week this week as part of a five-week STEAM program partnership between the education foundation and BB2C. “I was trying to illustrate that there’s a large variety of engineering careers to choose from,” Wittekind said. “They design everything from the structures that we live in, to the cars we drive. So I had built my own little playhouse to illustrate that point to these kids and that’s what they had fun trapping me in.” While younger students built straw structures with connectors, Wittekind explained, older students then used those foundational skills to compete in a bridge-building contest. STEAM outlines Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics as a basis for understanding the connection of different fields of study. “So each week of our program represents one of those letters in the acronym,” Wittekind said.
Older grades focused on the second letter of the weekly program. “That was a take-it-apart class where they got computers and we learned the parts of the computers and what are still usable parts from the old computers,” Wittekind said.
Next weekend, the public can join the BB2C Makerspace in helping raise funds for the Historic Harmar Bridge, while also putting those same STEAM skills to use. “We are doing a pinewood derby track and providing Lego car building kits, so people can pay a dollar to build a car which we will race down the track and record their time and then at the end of the weekend the winner will receive half of the money raised and the other half will go to the bridge company,” Wittekind said. Harmar Days kicks off 6 p.m. July 30; then vendors and children’s activities begin in full swing on July 31 from 10 a.m. until at least 6 p.m. and again Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.