Chesterton Tribune



Youth explore STEM at YMCA after school programs

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On a chilly afternoon in February, youth from Jackson Elementary School weren’t wasting their after-school hours on screen time. Instead, they explored chemistry through a fun and messy hands-on experiment at the Duneland Family YMCA’s after-school program.

The young scientists learned about polymers, as they created bouncy balls by mixing borax, corn starch, and glue to create a chain reaction. The reaction, called cross-linking, causes the long polymers to stick to each other, giving the balls their bounce.

This “DIY Bouncy Ball” activity is one of many designed to teach students STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts at the Duneland Family YMCA’s after-school program. Grant support from ArcelorMittal has fueled great improvements to the STEM learning program, and youth enrolled in the Duneland Family YMCA after-school program experience hands-on STEM activities each week.

“ArcelorMittal is pleased to support the Duneland YMCA after-school STEM program,” said Jolice Pojeta, Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Communications at ArcelorMittal. “Even at a very young age, these children were able to experience a fun lesson in both chemistry and physics by creating their own Bouncy Balls. It’s an easy way for students to learn and create their own experiment at the same time.”

During the 2016-17 school year, students built their STEM skills through engaging activities, such as: experiencing physics and engineering, as they design, build, test, and improve catapults to launch marshmallows; investigating how objects behave in water by predicting and testing which types of balls will sink or float, then constructing their own boats to keep pennies afloat; exploring physics concepts like speed, mass, and volume by building simple ramps and racing cans of different sizes and shapes; and improving their observation skills, while exploring nature to collect and inspect rocks, twigs, leaves, and more in their “Envirolope” (environment envelope).

With a focus on safety, health, social growth, and academic enhancement, the Duneland Family YMCA after-school program serves kindergarten through eighth grade students with a variety of program and activity options to explore and develop their interests and talents. The Duneland Family YMCA is a charitable nonprofit focusing on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

About ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 countries.


Posted 3/7/2017






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