This past Saturday on a sunny morning in Palo Alto, families took a break from their regularly scheduled programming. What inspired this hiatus? The Bay Area Discovery Museum’s (BADM) Try It Truck rolled to town!
Outfitted with a 3-D printer, hand tools, blocks and much more, the Try It Truck transformed the Infosys Foundation USA’s parking lot into a STEM playground ready for the young maker-mind to shape. Armed with the “Think, Make, Try” mantra, children and parents from the Bay Area were encouraged to tour nine stations. At each stop, they were presented with different activities and materials that allowed them to creatively solve problems using science and math.
At the rafts table for example, a host of recycled materials were available for young learners to build boats that would stay afloat under the weight of small animals. Or at the imagination playground, kids were challenged to construct structures for a variety of purposes using hinges, screws and peg boards. It was a great way for children to work alongside adults and exercise their minds outside of classroom.
A local parent reflected, “I took my three kids – my 11-year old daughter and seven-year old twin sons – to the Try It Truck. Each one was inspired by a different station, from raft to airplane building to catapult creation to simply seeing the laser cutter and 3-D printer in action. It was a great afternoon of fun learning!”
BADM serves 15,000 students annually in the greater Bay Area through its Try It Truck program, focusing primarily on under-resourced communities. Their “Think, Make, Try” philosophy encourages children to engage in hands-on problem-finding and problem-solving. Through this process, students learn to value the entire engineering process instead of just the outcome.
The Try It Truck recognizes the importance of out-of-school learning. Exposure to these types of informal STEM programming have been shown to lead to better academic and social outcomes down the line. And these programs importantly can connect students with adult role models and mentors in the field and help to reduce the achievement gap between students from different backgrounds, leveling the playing field.
Infosys Foundation USA is proud to partner with BADM to bring the Try It Truck to more communities in the greater Bar Area!