Mix middle and high school students, recycled products, math and add imagination, and you'll get innovative, handmade guitars created during Engineering from the Imagination at the Infinity Visual & Performing Arts Center.
The class, offered as part of a five-week summer camp with funding support from the Jamestown Public Schools' 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, was about building and inventing things from a student's imagination. Students learned about the physics behind musical instruments and in the process, built an instrument of their own. Conor McGibboney, CEO of Galactic Systems, an astronautical engineering and science research company, taught the workshop.
"It's proven that American students aren't performing as well in science and math as other countries," said McGibboney. "Classes like this, with a hands-on activity, is an opportunity to sneak in math, science and the fundamentals of engineering, giving students a positive experience with science and math. The regular school day is very structured. By having after school and summer programs that allow students to try something new, it challenges them but also prepares them for science and math in the classroom."
21st Century Grant Supports JPS Students Attending Infinity Summer Camps
Engineering from the Imagination was offered during STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) Week at the Infinity Visual & Performing Arts Center.
"I have taken other classes at Infinity such as visual animation but thought that STEAM Week sounded interesting," said Jamestown High School sophomore Jordon Bloom. "I have always been interested in engineering and plan to try robotics too. Kids want hands-on activities like we have been doing during STEAM Week. It's just a cool way to learn more about math and science."
Other theme weeks included: Art Intensive Week, two Music Intensive Weeks and Theater and Literary Arts Week. Each week, students completed projects such as an improvisation course with nationally known comedy writer and performer Bill Chott, or capturing an emotion through making a plaster sculpture with local artist Deb Eck.
"We are so lucky to have the support of the Jamestown Schools with grant money that benefits their district students," said Adam Owens, Infinity Summer Camp coordinator. "We wouldn't be able to offer as much as we do without the support of the grant. Besides the summer camps, we will also be working with the Jefferson and Washington after school programs during the school year to offer courses in stop animation, drama and improvisation. We, like all Jamestown After School programs, offer a safe place for students to learn and have fun. Many kids have never picked up a guitar or tried animation or art until they come here. We might get a kid excited about something just because they had an opportunity to try it."