Submitted by: Jodi Gempler
Brad Petersen, a professional educator and volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County has been volunteering his time for several months to teach Club members a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum at both the Garden City and Meridian locations of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County.
The program included robotics, 3D printing, computer science, tinkering projects, and more. Unsurprisingly, the most popular piece of Peterson’s program was working together in small teams to build a solar-powered robot. “The kids developed communication and persistence strategies as they creatively built a functioning robot,” says Brad.
“We are so grateful for Brad,” says Colleen Braga, executive director of the Clubs. “When Brad was here, kids didn’t miss a day. He made it so fun and engaging for them. He is one of the best volunteers we have ever had.”
Programs outside of school, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs, can help children see that STEM is more than just an assignment to finish. Giving them activities and projects that demonstrate real-life applications of STEM can pull together the ideas presented in school and help show how they benefit our society and even our world as a whole.
Petersen’s day job is working on opening a STEM and social justice centered k-8 school in the local area. His passion, however, is working directly with kids on STEM education.
The artist Pablo Picasso once said that all children are born artists and that the trick is to stay that way as an adult. Brad reminded us that all children have an inner scientist, and that we need try to get kids in touch with them.
The Boys & Girls Clubs is beyond grateful to Brad Peterson, and our many volunteers, who share their time, talents, and treasures with the Kids of our community. If you would like to volunteer with the Clubs, please contact us.