Brooklyn Center, Minnesota — Dr. Alexandra Holter, Brooklyn Center Community Schools STEAM Magnet Coordinator, wants her students to learn that science, technology, engineering, arts, and math are ever-present in the world around them.

Brooklyn Center students participating in kit one. The students build birdhouses to take home. PC:Brooklyn Center

“The idea is that no matter what subject a student engages in, there will be a STEAM component,” Holter said. “Whether it’s a science-literacy connection or technology-music, we’re being intentional about where subjects overlap.”

In a typical school year, Holter sets up field trips, helps facilitate hands-on learning opportunities with working professionals and brings in inspiring demonstrations to spark creativity.

Holter discovered Learn2Build (L2B), a program that exposes middle-school students to career possibilities in Minnesota’s construction trades. She connected with Learn2Build Director Mary DesJarlais and sought a partnership with Brooklyn Center Community schools to introduce elementary and middle school students to careers in construction through fun, in-class take home projects.

“During the pandemic, Learn2Build couldn’t provide in-person experiences to students, so we created five take-home construction kits. These kits provide hands-on, exploratory learning experiences, where the final result is a construction-based project the student can keep,” DesJarlais said. “These kits were so successful that we’re now offering them to elementary and middle schools, where teachers can facilitate the activities.”

Holter and Brooklyn Center Community Schools partnered with Learn2Build to organize kit experiences throughout the school year for 5th and 6th-grade students.

“We have the entire 5th grade — that’s 150 students participating in the kit projects,” Holter said. “We’re excited to launch this program to bring in new kit experiences monthly and watch our students practice STEAM and obtain hands-on skills, while learning about creativity in construction.”

The Learn2Build sessions will run through March, over which time students will be exposed to a variety of construction careers, materials, tools, and build electrical circuit boards, geodesic domes and learn to tile.

“I’m thrilled this partnership resulted in a series of kit events,” DesJarlais said. “Making the kit experiences regular, gives us the opportunity to showcase the value of construction through many lenses to youth. We want to inspire students to be creative and practice the hands-on skills they are good at.”

For more information on Learn2Build visit https://constructioncareers.org/learn2build/.

To get connected about Learn2Build Construction Kits for your students, contact Mary DesJarlais at mary.desjarlais@constructioncareers.org.