Chicago Vocational Career Academy Students Shine at Lumity Summer STEM Program

The Chicago heat and heavy rainstorms didn’t stop CVCA students from a whole lot of fun and learning at Lumity’s Summer STEM program. Twenty-five CVCA students with varying skills and backgrounds took on a long-term robotics challenge with us over three weeks in July. Students crafted the story that drove their challenge, set their obstacle course, coded their robots, and presented their work. They also had time to explore how their STEM interests connect to future careers. Our one regret? The program only had enough spots for 1/3 of the students who applied. We had to make some terribly tough admissions decisions with so many teens interested in participating!

Lumity/CVCA Summer STEM by the numbers:

25  slots were available in the program
88 students applied
80% students successfully completed all requirements

10 things students learned to do:

1. Code
2. Use the power of storytelling
3. Present their work
4. Set expectations for the program, their team and themselves
5. “Team sprints” to break the challenge into smaller steps and share responsibilities
6. Communicate with team members
7. Conduct trial and error problem solving
8. Persist through the “messy” parts to find solutions
9. Course correct
10. Pinpoint their learning styles and career interests

4 seemingly small but powerful signs of success by the end of the program…

1. Quiet students spoke up, shared their ideas, and presented their work.
2. Students who struggled with programming their robots discovered solutions to their code.
3. Student leaders helped other team members become leaders themselves and shared the spotlight.
4. Groups worked through initial disagreements to cohesively present their work.

Our favorite moments

It’s a tie: Ending each day with circle time to celebrate the daily successes with students and “Family Table.”
– Named by the students, “Family Table” was the lunch table where students took it upon themselves to sit with staff and set expectations, such as “no cell phones during lunch.”