Aurora STEAM Academy expands, launches new courses next week
What began as a pilot summer camp for 50 students in 2020 has grown into a year-round academy that served more than 600 students last year and will expand to serve an additional 1,600 students in 2022.
The City of Aurora and community partners launch next week new free sessions for the popular Aurora STEAM Academy.
Aurora students in kindergarten through eighth grades will have the opportunity to explore the interconnections of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math in a free co-curricular after-school environment. Previously, only students in first through sixth grade were offered the opportunity.
The Aurora STEAM Academy will operate in four sessions this calendar year, with classes for winter session in February and March; spring session in April and May; summer session from June through August; and fall session from September through December.
The application portal for the upcoming Winter Session is now open. Parents can review course descriptions and apply at www.aurora-il.org/STEAMAcademy.
The Steam Academy is offered through the unique public-private partnership between the City of Aurora, APS Training Academy, and TinkRworks.
"We consider it a privilege to continue to partner and serve the youth of Aurora," said Anu Mahajan, president and CEO of TinkRworks. "The program yielded outstanding measurable successes last year, and we look forward to more of the same this year."
The city's Information Technology Department will further support the initiative by providing tech equipment and high-speed internet to several learning centers throughout the community.
"It has been great working with our partners, TinkRworks and APS Training Academy. I truly believe this partnership is an ideal example of the collaborative work that can be done when private and public sector organizations work together to serve our community for social impact," said Aurora Chief Information Officer Michael Pegues.
"Since day one, we at APS Training Academy have been fully invested in this program. We are thrilled to continue advancing our mission of increasing access to free and low-cost educational opportunities in STEAM for our community here in Aurora," said Harish Ananthapadmanabhan, founder and board president of APS Training Academy.
The application portal will open two weeks before the start of each respective session. Courses offered for the winter session include:
• STEAM Academy (kindergarten): Students decorate a wooden flower or rocket and attach electronics to make it light up, play sounds, and move. They learn how light colors mix and how sound travels. Children learn to code lights, sounds, a motor and add sensors to make their projects interactive.
• Art Electric (grades 1- 5): Students decorate a wooden facade and attach electronics to make it light up, play sounds, and move. They learn how light colors mix and how sound travels. Children learn to code lights, sounds, a motor and add sensors to make their projects interactive. First- and second-graders will code using a tablet, while third- to fifth-graders will use laptops.
• Planetary Pathways (grades 6-8): Students create a rotating model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to bring to life their leanings about planetary orbits. Students will add and program electronics, including a motor to drive the model and lights to illuminate the sun.
"We are extremely excited about the expansion of the program for 2022. We have worked hard to be able to offer these educational opportunities to as many students as we could for this year," said Simon Rodriguez, City of Aurora Youth Services Manager.