Get ready for outdoor journaling at the Shaver’s Creek trails, an Earth Day Eco-Dash full of puzzles and cyphers and many more family-friendly learning events happening in Central Pa. this spring.
Last spring, Amanda Smith and Peney Wright were excited that a national celebration of learning called Remake Learning Days was coming to Central Pennsylvania for the first time. Then Covid-19 suddenly made public hands-on learning events impossible.
One year later, Remake Learning Days Across America is happening here and in 16 other regions of the country featuring 700+ family-friendly events.
A wide range of events designed for families with kids from pre-K age through high schoolers include a mix of virtual programs and socially-distanced in-person gatherings throughout Central PA’s 12 counties.
“The virtual events open up new possibilities: Central PA’s innovations will be shared with families around the country who tune in via Zoom. And Central PA families can explore free learning events happening nationwide.,” says Wright, executive leadership team member with ENGINE of Central PA STEM Learning Ecosystem, and STEM/STEAM curriculum and instruction specialist at Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 in Huntingdon.
“Remake Learning Days is such a great opportunity to elevate all the great things that are happening throughout Central Pennsylvania across many amazing organizations, especially as we end a very hard year on us all. This is a great way to end this academic year on a high note, and celebrate and support innovative learning with our youth and families” says Smith, Director of K-12 Engagement and Assistant Professor of Education at Penn State University, and Executive Director of ENGINE of Central PA, a STEM Learning Ecosystem.
For Wright, Remake Learning Days is about connecting local families to inspiring STEM and art activities. “It’s a way to really engage so many of our families and communities about what STEM is and what really is happening in their local areas,” she says.
The Central PA region will hold more than 45 events during its Remake Learning Days festivities May 6-16, plus pre-festival events celebrating Earth Day. They include:
- April 24: Nature journaling at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Petersburg, where staff will guide participants through nature journaling techniques while exploring the trails around Shaver’s Creek, south of State College.
- April 24: Earth Day Eco-Dash, where participants will solve puzzles, cyphers, clues and more while discovering facts about the natural world and learn how to better take care of the planet. Teams can include individuals, families, or groups, and may register to dash either on foot or by human-powered transportation.
- April 30-May 7: Penn State University College of Engineering, Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Information Sciences and Technology Virtual Showcase. The engineering students’ projects will be on display virtually, allowing K-12 students to learn about them. “It’s about getting students to understand the plethora of engineering that is happening in society — everything from aerospace engineering to electrical engineering to manufacturing engineering to nuclear engineering,” Smith says. Students logging in from all across the nation will be allowed to vote for their favorite engineering projects.
- May 6: Breath Together, high school students will get to go through a virtual tour of The Penn State Anxiety Project, with live readings of Inside Anxiety and Depression, and meditative drawing prompts for your mental health and wellbeing.
- May 8: Stream study of Raystown Lake with a park ranger, where middle-school students will learn about the environmental impact of pollutants, and collect macro invertebrates, identify them and discuss their places in food webs and food chains.
- May 13: Family Science Night: A Celebration of STEM! The Juniata Valley School District partnered with Shaver’s Creek on various nature studies. This all-virtual event for elementary school students will showcase some results of that partnership. The students will also have hands-on materials — sent home earlier with their families — to complete an engineering design challenge.
- May 11 and 13: A virtual introduction to hydroponics and aquaponics with Rachel Fogle, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Harrisburg University. “This is a really great introduction,” says Smith. “She discusses the importance of the research and what are the new, innovative ways we are using hydroponics and aquaponics in society.”
“We are at a turning point in education,” Smith says.
“What is education going to look like and how do we want it to look as we come out of Covid? I believe Remake Learning Days is a great opportunity to help us all realize it takes a village to raise a child, and there are opportunities for innovative community-based partnerships with our education system that can continue to grow and flourish.”
Among the goals of the festival: creating opportunities for students and families in Central Pennsylvania.
“To know we are that we are one small part of a national STEM event is really exciting,” Wright says. “For a lot of our families, it can open up opportunities they didn’t know were available to them.”
Remake Learning Days Across America runs April 22 – May 23 in 17 regions in the United States and is generously supported by The Central PA region, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and Schuylkill. Its Remake Learning Days celebration is May 6-16, though there will be events before and after those dates.
More information about events in the Central PA region can be found at: https://remakelearningdays.org/centralpa/
Remake Learning Days Across America (RLDAA) is led by Remake Learning (RL), a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change. National partners of RLDAA include PBS Kids, Digital Promise, Common Sense Media, Learning Heroes and Noggin. RLDAA is generously supported by The Grable Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. Follow RLDAA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the hashtag #RemakeDays.