5 Venice Students Spark STEM Interest in Kids


Julissa Ventureno

Camryn, Ernesto, Athena (left to right) discuss the How The Body Workshop lesson plan of the day.

Julissa Ventureno, Editor-in-Chief

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Five Venice High seniors Camryn Butze, Destiny Clark, Ernesto Gonzalez, Athena Koon and Shashine Nnachetam worked together to create “How The Body Works ” workshop at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice to teach fourth through sixth graders about human anatomy and physiology.

Koon and Gonzalez attended Camp Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles last summer. At the camp, they had the opportunity to observe medical procedures, participate in skills labs and gain exposure to different medical career paths. They felt compelled to bring the same knowledge they learned to younger kids and get them interested in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine. They mirrored the workshops from the camp in their How The Body Workshop.

“We took the initiative to spark STEM interest at a young age,” said Athena Koon.

At the beginning of August, these five students from the STEM and WLGS Magnet started brainstorming and planning out all the details of who, where and what they would teach. At the end of August, they were at the Open House event at the BGCV to advertise their workshops for two hours. By September, they had their first workshop teaching about cells, tissues and organs, the basics of biology.

Since many times students go into middle school and high school feeling intimidated by subjects such as science and math, according to Gonzalez, one of the student teachers said he hopes this workshop helps the children to feel more comfortable and familiar with STEM.

“We are already seeing kids who are super excited to come in,” said Camryn Butze. “They take notes and ask a lot of questions.”

On Dec. 3, the How The Body Workshop student-teachers held a culmination for 15 children. But the teaching won’t end yet. The Venice students are going to select a few of the elementary school students to continue onto a new workshop in which they will focus more on diseases and disorders.