STEAM While Sewing is an educational program that teaches the STEAM process (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and ignites the spirit of entrepreneurship through the art of sewing. STEAM While Sewing has 4 main goals that we are trying to accomplish. These goals are:
- develop interest in STEAM, especially for girls and minorities
- lower risky behaviors during after-school, such as: gangs, drugs, violence, and underage sex
- reduce the loss of education during the summer months
- teach a new skill that can be used throughout life and passed down to other generations
It was noted that although women and minorities have been developing more interest in the STEM careers the numbers are still quite low compared to our male counterparts. This could be due to the fact that they may feel that STEM is boring or that they lack the confidence to strive for those careers. Regardless of the reasoning it is important that we get more females and minorities involved in STEM. STEM is fundamental to life and how we live, it is a part of everything we do.
The Afterschool Alliance stated that youths are more vulnerable to participate in gangs, violence, underage sex, and drugs during the after-school hours. STEAM While Sewing has decided to develop an after-school program to lower the risk of youths getting involved with these types of behaviors. Instead of youths having free time to do whatever they please, they will have a structured program that will keep their interest and also develop strong relationships with mentors.
According to Oxford Learning and summerlearning.org, during the summer youths lose 2-3 months of reading and math skills. If academic loss continues to happen every summer this can leave students 2-3 years behind their counterparts. STEAM While Sewing has developed a summer program to ward off this loss.
The University of Florida stated that when youths learn the skill of sewing they learning patience, self-confidence, and how to listen and follow directions. STEAM While Sewing is teaching youths the skill of sewing while encompassing self-confidence through skill building.
The question is how do we spark interest? One way to spark interest in STEM is to incorporate it into something that people like. Example, STEM has been inter-weaved into music. Many people love music, they love to dance. When you take someones love for music and incorporate the importance and how it works, people tend to have a different feeling for music and they start to think of ways to make it better and therefore they have just added the STEM component and then STEM becomes STEAM because music has just become the art, which allows for creativity.
STEAM While Sewing is working to ignite that same fire when it comes to sewing. Sewing is a lost art and skill that is no longer taught in school, but when its brought with the fashion aspect and creating unique designs it is then looked at differently. This generation loves the thought of uniqueness, they want to be the first to have it or the only one with it. When the skill of sewing is brought to the youths in this way then they are ready for the STEAM component. They begin to hunger for the science behind it, choosing fabric based on its use and dyeing fabrics; the technology, choosing the correct machine for project, correct sewing needles, and even developing wearable technology; the engineering, taking a 1D pattern and turning it into a 3D product or even creating their own patterns and bringing them to life; the art, sketching fashion designs, choosing the best colors or prints for a project, and hacking patterns to create the outfit they have sketched; the math, making sure they have the correct measurements, making sure to have enough fabric to complete the design, using formulas when designing wearable technology, and learning how to add seam allowance to a design.