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Full Steam Ahead

The Full STE[+a]M Ahead students enjoyed another week of fun, interactive learning during Week 2 of the summer program.

The summer youth program is aimed at equipping high school students with the skills needed to compete in today’s in-demand career fields and develop them as community leaders. We partnered with the Elementary Institute of Science, Project New Village, the AJA Project, the San Diego Futures Foundation, Groundwork, and UC San Diego to develop a curriculum, provide resources and guide students in activities related to STEAM subjects that directly contribute to their surrounding community.

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During Week 2, the students headed out to Wild Willows Farm, a six-acre farm and sustainable food project located along the Tijuana River. There they learned the difference between organic food and conventional food, meaning any food products they buy at restaurants, fast food places, grocery stores, or shops. By weighing out the pros and cons of both types of food they were able to understand how both types of food sources and products affect their health, the environment, and food systems as a whole.

The #FullSteam15 kids didn’t just talk about food at Wild Willows. They got their hands dirty by doing a bit of gardening as well! By planting fruits, herbs, and vegetables they got to learn first-hand how the food we eat daily comes to be. Students tasted the plants, fruits, and veggies as well to get familiar with their flavors and identify them. While most they enjoyed, it’s fair to say that they weren’t too fond of the fresh sour grapes they tried. Lots of puckered faces after sampling those! They also fed chickens and pulled tumbleweed for the goats that live on the farm.

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Back at the Elementary Institute of Science, the students took the lessons they learned about planting and gardening at Wild Willows Farm and built their own raised bed for planting. They worked the soil and plated numerous fruits and vegetables in their very own garden, using recycled containers and other materials. We can’t wait to see all the tasty fresh food that blossoms from these gardens!

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A big part of this Week 2 was planning for their final projects. At the end of the Full STE[+a]M Ahead summer youth program, students will present projects that they’ve bee working on throughout the entire program. The students got into teams and started designing their own sustainable gardens. Together they will plan a budget, research alternative energy sources, choose plant life, and build a garden, implementing all they have been learning into their gardens. Each team will be presenting their final project at the Full STE[+a]M Ahead Celebration Dinner happening on August 19 at the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center.