Full "STEAM" Ahead for Kids: Matrix Integration Offers Five Tips to Keep Kids on the Right Track to Learning This Summer

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Fun activities encourage kids in Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) when school’s out. Matrix Integration, the IT partner for more than 1,000 businesses and schools in Indiana, offers tips to help parents and kids slow the slide, and add a little STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into their summer.

The Biotech Lab at The Indianapolis Children's Museum helps kids learn STEM skills

“The key to a child’s learning success is “exposure” to build interests and enhance familiarity and development in STEAM,” said Nathan Stallings, president of Matrix Integration.

When school’s out, “summer slide” quickly kicks in – the annual learning loss that is experienced by nearly every student who has a summer vacation. [1] This summer, Matrix Integration, the IT partner for more than 1,000 businesses and schools in Indiana and beyond, has tips to help parents and kids slow the slide, and add a little STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into their summer.

“The key to a child’s learning success is “exposure” to build interests and enhance familiarity and development in STEAM,” said Nathan Stallings, president of Matrix Integration. “I always make sure my children are enrolled in STEM/STEAM programs throughout summer.”

Matrix Integration’s Top Tips for Engaging Indianapolis’ Kids in STEM this Summer:

1. Take STEM Kids to Work – Entrepreneurs and business leaders working in STEM fields can open up their business to kids with a passion for STEM subjects. Businesses can create “Bring Your Kids To STEM Work Day” or offer a free STEM class for kids to experience real world problem/solution formulas in science, technology, engineering, and math.

2. STEM Camps – Many Indianapolis park districts and colleges offer STEM summer camps, with activities like coding, video game design, robotics, and more. Marian University, IUPUI, and Butler University offer STEM summer camps. YMCA Camp Carson in Southern Indiana provides STEAM programs, and robotics camps through districts like Noblesville Schools are options as well.

3. Visit Indianapolis Gems – Research the exhibits at your local science museums and centers to find what might appeal most to your children. Many museums including The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offer free or low-cost STEM programs. Indianapolis Zoo, and Conner Prairie in Fishers offer exciting summer programs in STEAM. Memberships include even more opportunities for STEAM exposure for kids.

4. Don’t Forget the Library – Libraries have become a major resource for free and low-cost STEM education. In Indiana, many libraries offer families access to maker labs with advanced equipment like 3D printers. The Indianapolis Public Library “Tech Lab 2018” for children to explore art and coding with apps on iPads.

5. Online Resources – Kids who are interested in learning how to code have a wide range of free sites to help them learn. Scratch is a beginning programming language from MIT that helps kids at any skill level create games, animations and stories, and share their creations in an online community. Older kids can check out the MIT App Inventor, a tool they can use to create Android apps.

A History of Supporting STEM
In addition to finding local STEM activity in the community, Matrix Integration leaders also know the importance of encouraging curiosity and problem solving. Brenda Stallings, co-owner and chief executive offer of Matrix Integration, has been behind her company’s support of programs like “Blended Coders,” a STEM class for girls in Indiana.

“Children can grasp technical concepts faster than we realize,” Stallings said. “They’ll start to think more like scientists when you don’t answer their questions right away. Let them try to figure it out. That way they start to take ownership of their learning.”

In addition to supporting formal STEM programs, Matrix Integration employees have been volunteering in the STEM education field for decades.

“As a tech company, we need the next generation of STEM-minded individuals,” said Stallings. “With STEM we are teaching skills the way they will be used in the real world. Imagine how empowering it is for a child to realize the robot she builds in STEM class is just the beginning.”

Matrix helps more than 1,000 companies in over a dozen industries leverage technology to run and grow their businesses, and helps tens of thousands of students in K-12 schools, colleges and universities succeed with technology. For more tips on education technology, cybersecurity, and solving technology problems, visit http://www.matrixintegration.com and follow the TechKNOW blog.

About Matrix Integration
Matrix Integration (http://www.matrixintegration.com) is a trusted technology consulting and implementation company that has been in business for nearly 40 years. Strategic partners include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aruba, Cisco Systems, Meraki, VMware, Microsoft, Mitel, Veeam, TrendMicro, Google, Scale Computing, Fortinet. And Barracuda. With Clients nationwide and offices in Indiana and Kentucky, Matrix Integration works closely with businesses and organizations to provide personalized technology solutions such as Professional Services, Data Center, Networking, Computing, Collaboration, and Security. Matrix Integration has been recognized on numerous Industry lists including CRN Solution Provider 500, CRN Managed Service Provider Elite 150, CRN Women of the Channel, CRN Tech Elite 250, Diversity Business Top Business, Champions of Diversity and Indiana Excellence Award.

[1] Brookings. Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it? Sept. 14, 2017

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