STEM Minds is a mission-driven social enterprise that teaches technology with in-class and virtual education programs for children ages 4-18. We offer a collaborative and supportive atmosphere to learn and thrive. With camps, programs, and online courses in robotics, coding, film, photography, video game design, app development, AI, and more, there is something for everyone!
The 2020/21 Experience at STEM Minds
STEM Minds has a variety of virtual and online options available for kids as they learn at home. However, as we re-open our business and offer in-person programming, we know that you are wondering what steps we are taking in order to ensure the safety of our staff and students.
As always, we are committed to creating a safe environment for all. As a result, we have implemented many new policies and procedures in order to protect our clients and our staff. These practices will continue to evolve based on guidelines from the federal and provincial health ministry.
Additionally, we are continuing to monitor the situation closely to ensure we are taking all precautions recommended by local, national, and international authorities. For more information on all of our policies and procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit the link below.View recent COVID-19 updates from STEM Minds
Anu Bidani, Founder & CEO
Hi, I am Anu Bidani. Founder and CEO of STEM Minds.
We are a BCorp certified business on a mission to transform education. We help to bridge your child’s unique passions with technology and embrace life-long learning. We focus on skill-building by offering STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs in-person and online to nurture the next generation of #fearless leaders.
A recent report by the World Economic Forum stated the jobs of tomorrow will rely heavily on a good grasp of STEM subjects, including Science, Technology, Education, and Math. Now more than ever, our children need to become self-directed, life-long learners. And that means we need to alter how we teach and what we teach to unlock their full potential. That is how education will transform. We are solving the disconnect between what children are taught in schools and what employers expect – the skill building gap.
From K-12, we help take your child’s STEM education to the next level. Our versatile programs are designed and delivered by certified teachers and technical professionals using up-to-the-minute technology for a world-class education. At STEM Minds, every student is given a safe space to voice their perspective and springboard new ideas. We instill self-esteem and open their minds to new possibilities.
With programs ranging from robotics and coding, video game design and eSports, app and web development, AI and Cybersecurity, there is truly something for every child to build their confidence and a solid foundation for success in the 21st century.
Together, we can inspire future-ready kids. Visit stemminds.com to learn more and start your child’s STEM journey today!
Is STEM Minds technology free?
For more information about our policy on Safe and Responsible Technology Use, please visit https://www.stemminds.com/policies-and-procedures-2/.
Cost: $100 to $375 /program
|Deposit required with acceptance||Yes|
|Credit card payment||Yes|
|Discount for 2nd child||10%|
This week our team member Emma had the pleasure of meeting virtually with Robert, a former staff member at STEM Minds who is completing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, to discuss the ways that STEM learning has impacted his work in his field. Read the interview below to check out what he had to say!
So, how did you get started at STEM Minds?
I started in Grade 10 as a volunteer at summer camp. I got into the digital media side of things right away and really developed a passion for it and then that translated into a job there where I got to teach and explore lots of different topics. I loved that I not only got to explore so much of the tech side of things, but I also got to explore creativity, especially designing music. It has been so fulfilling to create music and hear it back and realize that your own music isn’t garbage, in fact it is pretty good! So I am so excited that we have launched the Computer Music course recently. If our Computer Music students get just a fraction of the experience and satisfaction I got from exploring this, they are going to be pretty excited!
What are you currently studying in University? What made you want to study that?
I am currently working towards an Honours Degree in Chemistry.
After working at STEM Minds and being exposed to so many people who work there who want to be trailblazers in the STEM Movement, I was really inspired to take the direction I have gone in in my schooling. When I chose to go into Chemistry I knew I didn’t want to distance myself from the actual work of the lab. Of course I wanted to learn all forms of sciences but what I really wanted was for my work to be practical in nature, which is what led me to working on the research team that I am currently a part of. STEM Minds is so involved in the practical education side of things and this was part of what made me realize that I really wanted to be in the place where science happens, not just work theoretically, so I am really enjoying my research work!
We work with a lot of students who aspire to pursue higher education in STEM fields, what are some skills that have been beneficial to you during your studies?
In my field I have found being able to work sort of mechanically has been an asset. You have sometimes over 10 hours in the lab per week, so it is really important that you are able to work with your hands while doing that. I had never been very mechanically oriented before I started my degree so this has actually been a big learning curve for me as I learn how to conduct myself in the lab setting!
And of course, beyond having good study habits, I have found it so important to be able to reach beyond the courses I am taking, such as finding my own resources about specific Chemistry topics that interest me (the history of Chemistry, in my case). There is still so much in Chemistry that we actually do not understand, so there are a lot of connections between old theories and the work we do today! Being able to move beyond the content of a University course and work to make connections about what you are passionate about and make connections to the real world has been really important.
What I appreciate from working at STEM Minds is that so much of what we do is modeled around current issues. This gets students thinking critically and being creative but also allows them to identify with something they feel is important to them and really makes learning meaningful.
Have there been any surprising ways your STEM skills have helped you in your degree?
Yes, my STEM experience has been extremely helpful! There are lots of things, but I’ll just give a few examples for now.
You really need to be willing to branch out into tech if you want to be at the forefront of the field I am in, so this has been really helpful to me. In my case, my experience with Arduino has been really useful in the research team I am working with over the summer. I didn’t have any formal training before I joined this research project, but having worked with Arduino in the past helped me be able to pick up what I am doing now a lot more easily than if I didn’t have that experience.
My STEM experience also helped me be willing to learn things that some other people were more weary of. For example, we had access to a CNC machine, but none of the grad students had really been making use of it because they didn’t know how. Even though I didn’t know how to use it yet, I had seen my colleagues at STEM Minds use it and it seemed like something I could tackle. So since I was just willing to give it a try I was able to learn how to use it no problem! These past experiences made me willing to learn all new things and not worry so much about trying something out.
Another example is using MATLAB, which is a professional software that is used for data management. If I didn’t have any experience coding, it may have been really overwhelming and felt complicated. However, it is actually really similar to Python so I was able to learn no problem. And this may be an example some people may not think of right away, because you usually associate coding with Computer Science and not with Chemistry. But in reality, a lot of softwares that are used in Chemistry really take it for granted that you can code so I am really glad I have that experience.
What do you want to tell students wanting to pursue higher education in STEM?
Always always always be open to personalizing your experience! Especially in something like Chemistry where there can be a very rigid and dry curriculum. That is how I became so attached to the history of Chemistry and also how I realized that I may prefer to be an electrochemist than anything else. If I had just followed the curriculum as it was laid out I may have never found the thing I was most passionate about!
A lot of people in my program can just go through each course and then be done with it. But it seems like those people don’t always enjoy themselves quite as much as they would if they would dive into what elements of a course are most interesting and meaningful to them. It is a lot less inspiring to be in a course if you are just passively involved, so I always try to make connections to the course work that are meaningful to me.
When you put your own spin on what you are doing in school, you will learn more about what you like. Just learning what the school is giving you is not as important as making that learning your own. It is important to find what is important to you in each and every course, and like I said earlier, making those real world connections is so important as well! If you can personalize your learning, you are going to gain so much more, and you definitely don’t have to wait until you are in University to do that!
Thanks so much to Robert for meeting with me for this interview! Robert certainly is an interesting case study for how beneficial STEM learning can be in a wide variety of fields.
Both Josh and Aidan have grown so much since they started coming to STEM Minds several years ago and it has been awesome to see. Aidan has even begun volunteering with us at our camps! It is always a pleasure having them here with us and seeing them become fearless leaders. Keep reading to hear some of their thoughts on school and STEM! Scroll to the bottom to learn how parents and teachers can provide STEM learning to students this fall.
Josh: I am 12, going into grade 7.
Aidan: I am 14 and I am going into grade 9.
So, you have been coming to STEM Minds for a long time, did you ask your family to sign up? Did you have any expectations coming in?
Aidan: I asked to sign up because it seemed really exciting. I really didn’t have any expectations coming in because it was my first time doing something like that. I didn’t really know what STEM meant, I just sort of thought robotics and stuff sounded cool and I wanted to do it.
Josh: We’ve been coming to STEM Minds since I think the first time they opened. We had asked to come because a teacher at my school was talking about some of these kinds of things and all of it sounded like a lot of fun. When we first came I thought it was really fun and we did a lot of cool stuff, I literally had no expectations coming in but I ended up really liking 3D printing at the time.
What has been your favourite part about STEM Minds?
Josh: Probably the people, all of the staff are so nice so I like coming here.
Aidan: I like that I get to learn new things all of the time, which is fun.
You both have probably done nearly everything we offer here so far at least once, do you have a favourite topic?
Josh: The very first time that I did movie making and stop motion I had so much fun and made a good friend, so I loved that a lot. It is still one of my favourite things to do when I am here.
Aidan: I think my favourite would be 3D modelling, I have always found that pretty interesting.
Are there any topics you are looking forward to?
Josh: I am really looking forward to eSports because I haven’t had a chance to do it yet. I really didn’t know that you guys had started it until I came to camp this summer. So when things start to open up more and programs come back I really want to do that!
Aidan: Also eSports for me, I play online with friends sometimes but nothing like eSports, so it seems really cool.
Tell me about STEM at school, what kind of STEM activities do you do there? Are Science and Math class hands-on?
Josh: STEM Minds has actually come to my school and done some stuff with different classes so that was cool. We don’t really do much of this kind of stuff at school though. Science class for me hasn’t been much hands-on, mostly book stuff. I have done some more hands-on stuff in other grades which I really liked.
But this year we did go on a few field trips which was so awesome. We did this “mission to the moon” thing at the Science Centre and that was a lot of fun. We prepared a lot for it in advance and were learning about latitude and longitude and things like that, but basically we got to go into this room that was set up like a spaceship or something and we had to solve all of these puzzles and do different tasks. At one point there were alarms going off and it was so crazy, we all had a lot of fun doing that.
As far as Math class, it’s pretty good but it is mostly just bookwork. We don’t do hands on stuff very often, we do most of the work in our heads. I think a lot of people I know in my class don’t really like that so much, I think a lot of people don’t like Science, especially. But if we got to do some of that hands on stuff then I bet people may like it more. We once got to do some stuff with electronics and wires and alarms and stuff and everybody really liked that.
Aidan: In my class in Science sometimes we have done some labs, but it is mostly textbook work too. There aren’t any clubs or anything that does STEM stuff like we’ve done at STEM minds. I have never done any type of coding or anything outside of STEM Minds but I think if other kids in my class got to try that they would really like it.
And what do you think about those STEM options at your school?
Josh: They’re ok. I wish there was a bit more. Most of the STEM type of stuff mostly happens in Science class. Otherwise there isn’t really much of that in school for me so far.
Aidan: I wish we could do more hands-on stuff, I think there are lots of people who I go to school with who haven’t ever gotten to try STEM. But I think if they were given the opportunity, then they would actually really like it and would want to keep doing more.
Thanks so much to Aidan and Josh for chatting with us about STEM at school! I think they both had some interesting insights into what students’ perspectives are of school and what STEM experiences are available. Both expressed that when they get hands-on opportunities, they and their classmates really enjoy their learning! However, both boys also described that they didn’t really get those hands-on learning opportunities very often, despite people enjoying them so much.
This is important for us as teachers to keep in mind that those authentic hands-on learning opportunities are so important to our students! And for parents it is also important to see what ways you are able to support your child’s learning and perhaps seek out ways for them to have some of those opportunities outside of school. Or even better, advocating for more STEM opportunities in our schools so that all students are able to have these amazing experiences!
With so much uncertainty surrounding schools in the fall, parents and teachers will need to be creative in order to provide these hands-on opportunities for students.
For parents, check out our virtual program offerings.
For teachers, keep an eye out for our professional development webinars for a variety of topics or purchase a coding unit plan to help you introduce coding to your students (even if you have no experience!). The unit plans are directly connected to the new Ontario Math curriculum, which now includes coding (hooray!!).
March 30, 2021
STEM Minds is part of the AIR MILES® Bonus Boom!
Purchase a Level 2 STEAM Hub Subscription and Get 25 AIR MILES® Bonus Miles*.... Read More
December 9, 2020
❄️Keep them busy during the holiday break❄️
Book our Winter Camp before December 31, 2020 and get 4x the AIR MILES® Reward Miles!... Read More