RESTON, VA — A new STEM program featuring play dough and electronic circuits debuted at Nova Labs September 28th. Jason Kohles, Nova Labs Co-Founder and father of three, organized the event which targets the 4 to 10 year old age group. Based on the initial reaction from parents, the program succeeded in presenting STEM topics in a fun and engaging way.
Keeping true to the maker model, even the special conductive dough was homemade; the process for making the 25 batches was “exhausting” according to Jason. Prepping the electronic components also involved modifying the leads with soldered bolts to make them larger and easier for smaller hands to plunge into the dough.
Each of the 25 children received a ziplock bag with a battery pack and a handful of LEDs in various sizes and colors. The buzzers and voltmeters were available to share.
The adults were surprised by the level of knowledge displayed by even the youngest of the children. After Jason tried to explain electricity in a very rudimentary way he sat back and let the kids take over.
One child’s analogy—which was quickly understood by the others—described an electric circuit as a road, the battery pack as a gas station, and the electricity as the cars.
A four year old later tried to explain that electrical movement was because of “ions.”
Jason says that a “Squishy Circuit” kit is in the works and may soon be available for purchase through Nova Labs.
The program was originally developed by Thomas Lab at the University of St. Thomas.