Learn more about STEAM Discovery Academy!

There’s a new option for summer youth programming coming to Richmond area families!

STEAM Discovery Academy, founded in Charlottesville, is expanding this summer and will provide engaging learning experiences for students in Richmond and Roanoke.

What is STEAM?
STEM dates to the 1950’s; though it wasn’t introduced to American education until the mid-2000’s as the call was made to focus on increasing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics learning in the US. Because STEM learning inspires innovation, problem solving and critical thinking, while leveraging technology and the scientific method to solve problems it’s been gaining momentum ever since.
STEAM takes the principles of STEM a step further, incorporating the arts and with that creativity and design thinking, which are essential ingredients for innovation. Art education allows students to learn things in a more open-ended way and make them applicable to real-life while including the “A” promotes collaboration across disciplines.

At STEAM DA, art plays a vital role in exposing more students to STEM subjects, especially those students who are traditionally under-represented. Students who take Art Lab, Ceramics, or Paint and Mixed Media are introduced to scientific concepts like chemistry and viscosity in a comfortable setting. During the week, in passing and in demonstrations, they can see what the other courses are working on and become interested in disciplines they may not have thought they would enjoy. Executive Director, Lisel Bruscia, shared the following, “In 2017, STEAM had no girls in Robotics, Coding, or Drone specific programs. As students were exposed, this changed – both ways. In 2021, 50% of those programs were girls, but even more telling, 50% of middle school ceramics were boys. The exposure works both ways”.

So what makes STEAM Discovery Academy unique?
Founded in 2017, by Mike Bruscia, a long-time science educator and current Middle School Science teacher, STEAM Discovery Academy offers summer and year-round learning opportunities annually to hundreds of students in the Charlottesville, VA area. In collaboration with his wife, Lisel, the Bruscia’s look to inspire students to aspire to careers in STEAM fields.

STEAM DA specializes in Edutainment – the blend of Education and Entertainment. SDA presents students of all ages with scientific concepts and teaches the science and deeper understanding of respective disciplines. Students apply these concepts and learn to solve challenges. SDA incorporates toys, tools, and materials into the challenges making the process active, fun, and engaging.

Mike Bruscia explained “hands-on learning is at the heart of what we do. As educators, we provide a framework for discovery, but allow the students to explore their way to solutions. We support their learning, but there is no one solution. We call this process ‘Creative Collision’, when students start riffing off others’ ideas, encouraging them to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. It’s similar to when you hear musicians jamming, we do that with ideas.

In addition to traditional STEAM learning, SDA incorporates leadership concepts to build resilience, confidence, and communication skills. Examples of failure and perseverance from Apollo 13 to SpaceX are leveraged to demonstrate that part of problem-solving is taking (calculated) risks, making mistakes, and persevering. Teamwork is essential to success in challenges, allowing an opportunity to explore effective communication strategies. The blend of hands-on activities and soft skills provides a unique opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills, needed for future careers in STEAM.

STEAM DA in Richmond
In 2022, STEAM Discovery Academy will launch summer programming at Richmond Christian School. “At STEAM, we pride ourselves on combining fun, interactive workshops, led by experienced educators, with academic learning designed to spark curiosity. Richmond Christian School and their facilities are the perfect setting for our newest campus. We are thrilled to offer our programs to all local Richmond families this summer,” said Lisel Bruscia.

Summer programs are week-long, full-day, or half-day experiences, centered around a specific theme. Options range from Gadgets & Gizmos to Paint & Mixed Media to Robotics and Coding. A typical day begins with drop-off between 8:30A-9:00A and ends between 5:00P-5:30P, while students may be picked up early for activities. Each day has four workshops, beginning with a community and collaboration building activity, followed by a workshop. Students have a snack and movement break, followed by a second workshop and lunch. Following recess, students have two more workshops and a snack break. Students are encouraged to be active during their breaks with games and activities provided. Breaks are essential to their creativity and success in the workshops.

Interested in learning more about STEAM DA? Visit their website, www.steamda.com/richmond, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Enrollment is now open and an early registration discount is available until April 1, 2022. Learn more and view our schedule of programs at www.steamda.com/richmond.