"What if students were inspired to learn what they love?"
That's the slogan behind Spokes, a cross-country STEM educational tour this summer from the minds of seven Harvard, MIT and Columbia University students.
Spokes will take these students from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., from June through August. Along the way, they'll visit at least 10 public high schools, teaching hands-on, project-based STEM classes at special learning festivals. Spokes 2014 picks up where last year's team of students left off, after making the successful venture across country.
The driving force behind the trip is to expose students to learning opportunities outside school walls. These outside-the-box lessons are designed to tap students' curiosity by tackling topics with real-world applications.
"Most of the learning we do over the course of our lifetimes happens outside of a classroom," according to the Spokes website. "We want to show this to high school students and give them an opportunity to feel inspired and find something they love."
Students interested in mechanical engineering will learn how to build a small, programmable car in one of the lessons.
"Students will work with Raspberry Pi hardware and appropriate components to build a basic vehicle and then use Python to operate," according to the Spokes website.
Other lessons expose the magic in math by using card games and dice rolls to dig deeper into game theory and practical applications of probability. Students will also learn physics principles like torque, friction and force through rock climbing exercises.
Spokes has a number of sponsors, including Teach for America and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.