FAQ

Due to the lack of STEM-related education opportunities here in Turlock, STEM Learning Education was born. We are piloting with Summer 2018 Coding Camps and hope to offer more STEM-related classes (e.g. robotics, game development, etc) and turn this into a year-long program.

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
Same as STEM with the addition of Arts; thereby making it STEAM.
Absolutely not! Fashion industry uses 3D printers to design and prototype garments. Using motion capture, animation sequence or dancing robots can be orchestrated. These are few examples of STEAM in action; however, our journey begins with a single step, which is programming and computer science.
We find many STEM topics that are intriguing and surprising. We want to share our findings, thoughts, and reflection about STEM topic.  We hope that our efforts will educate, inspire, and energize others about the vast spectrum of possibilities with regards to STEM education.

In our context, computer programs are a set of written instructions that a computer can understand and execute. The work that computer programmers produce, computer instructions, is known as the computer code. The act of writing a computer program is called coding or programming.

Don't let the term programming fool you; you probably have been programming household devices and appliances without even realizing it. For example, you may have programmed your garage door opener, TV remote control, set DVR (dare I say VCR) to record a show, program sprinkler system, or even your thermostat. However, just because programming and coding have been around for a long time, it does "not" mean that its importance can be diminished. I've seen friends and colleagues spend hours doing a monotonous task because they didn't know how to do a string extraction using a formula in the spreadsheets.

The use of computers is becoming commonplace in the schools; but, their utilization does not necessarily translate to being able to utilize the technology most effectively. Just as a sharp scalpel is a necessary tool for a surgeon, understanding how to solve a logical problem on computers is essential.

It is important to recognize that computer programming is a profession, and it takes years to master. We've seen college students advance through computer science courses without understanding the fundamental principles until later in their academic career.

Our goal is to expose students to computer science and programming in a fun way. Along their journey, they will learn how to analyze and solve problems systematically. Their mastery of the computer language is inconsequential; but, their ability to create algorithms (step-by-step instructions) to solve problems is paramount.

There are hundreds of different computer languages. Though there are a handful of popular and core programming languages, it is the understanding and comprehension of abstract and intangible ideas that is important. Once the programming concepts and methodologies have been internalized, learning new computer languages can literally be accomplished over a weekend.

Robotics is a favorite topic and we are working on introducing something in the near future.

Each child starts with a simple lesson and advances through different lessons at their own pace. Regardless of the learning track (syntax based or block coding), they need to implement algorithms (step-by-step computer instructions) to solve problems in increasing complexity.

Children are given the opportunity to think through and solve the problems on their own to help strengthen the neural pathways needed for solving more complicated logical problems.

Currently we have AM (9am-12pm) sessions for 7-11 years old and PM (1pm-4pm) sessions for 12-15 years old.

There is block based (Scratch) coding and syntax based (CodeMonkey) coding.

There are hundreds of computer programming languages that are different in many forms; but, for our purposes, we'll categorize them into two parts.  One part is drag & drop visual programming environment and the other is typed computer instruction, which we call syntax based coding.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) introduced the visual scratch code blockprogramming environment called Scratch.  Students drag & drop code blocks onto a canvas. Similar to the way photo puzzle piece must be organized, scratch instruction blocks are forced into a structure and "snap" into place.  Because students have a preexisting mental model, they are able to recognize a set of computer programming patterns that aid them in learning key fundamentals of grouping computer instructions.

Most programming languages are syntax based; that is, the instructions are actually typed on the computer.  The primary benefit of syntax based coding for non-professional is that they are more relevant in applications.  For example, the if-then-else expressions can easily be used in spreadsheets as part of the formulas. In the syntax based track students work with a real-world programming language called CoffeScript.  CoffeScript is used by programmers to translate their code into JavaScript (another programming language that used mostly on web pages) to reduce the lines of code they have to write.

Code MonkeySimilar to Scratch coding model, the students with CodeMonkey will click on CoffeeScript instruction icons to place them onto their canvas during programming. This relieve the need to know how to type, which is a skill that even many adults lack.  However, as kids progress through their lesson plan, at times they will find that it might be easier to type an instruction.  For example, the act of clicking back space on the keyboard and then using a mouse to click on several objects is more work then typing the expression a=5.  This also has the added benefit of seeing real algebraic algebraic expressions in action.

Kids that are 7 years old should be in the Scratch program. If your child is getting ready for middle school or junior high school STEM program; then the syntax-based curriculum offered in CodeMonkey is a better choice.

Kids can work through both camps. CodeMonkey introduces students to the idea of measuring distance and degrees of rotations, which will be the new concept to the younger audience.

Students will be challenged, guided, encouraged, and motivated to learn computer programming regardless of the track you choose. The goal is to help them learn while having fun. The choice between the two really comes down to personal preference.

Summer 2018 coding camp will be held at:

Assyrian American Civic Club (small banquet room; easily accessible from the east side [back] of the facility) 2618 N. Golden State Blvd, Turlock CA

Summer 2018 venue

To transfer the savings to parents, the venue is held at a local event center. If there is enough demand (and we hope Turlock is ready for it), we shall look for a permanent location to offer year-round STEM Learning Education.
Students are given self-paced curriculum plan that they will work through. The activities are project based so that the students exercise the concepts presented to them. Tutors will provide the necessary assistance to help the students learn and work through the project problems.
Sessions are self-paced; so, if the student misses a day, s/he can continue the lesson next time. Depending on scheduling and space availability, the student may makeup the hours on another session; however, there is no guarantee that such accommodations can be made.
We schedule our staff according to the number of students; thus, a 48 hours cancellation notice is required for a full refund; otherwise, $35 processing fee is added. However, if you are unhappy with services rendered, we’ll be happy to discuss the situation to resolve the matter for you and avoid similar issues with future customers.

Safety and security of children is very important to us.

Children will be under supervision at all times except when they need to use the restroom.  For restroom breaks, they will be asked to use a buddy system (pair with similar age buddy) so that they are not alone.

There will be at least one adult trained in first-aid/CPR on site. The medical information will be made available to emergency personnel in case of an emergency.

Your child can register for two different camps; but, we suggest picking one course and re-enrolling them in the same course in the following week(s). Kids work at their own pace as they move through more lesson plans and learn important programming concepts. Learning different programming languages is less important than learning the programming concepts at the early stages.
If you are interested in more than one week of enrichment session then please be sure to select CodeMonkey syntax based coding. It has longer lesson plans that students can work through. Every week students can continue where they left off.

The summer 2018 camp is a pilot program to STEM enrichment.

If there is enough demand then we will offer additional courses (e.g. robotics, game design, space exploration, etc) year-round and offer discounts due to additional session enrollments, sibling, dual membership (i.e. scouting).

At this time, as a pilot program, no further discounts are provided.

Franchises like Code Ninja and other stem enrichment opportunities are sprouting all over the country; but, is Turlock ready for this opportunity?

Please post messages on your social media and inform friends & educators about this pilot program.

By the end of the year we will know if there is enough demand to support such program.

How do Astronotes raise plants in a microgravity environment?
How does raising a plant in space is different than the one on the surface of our planet?

These and many other questions are presented and students work in a large group to research growth patterns of their seeds that are aligned with the next generation science standards. The seeds will be grown and monitored locally as well as remotely on the International Space Station (ISS).

Kids stuff? Absolutely! But is Turlock ready for these STEM opportunities or are we a little ahead of our time?

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We have preconfigured computers for students to utilize; therefore, they do not need to bring a personal computer with them.

The lesson plans are part of the application software that students will utilize; so, no textbooks will be used or provided.

Additionally, due to nature of lesson progression, there is no need for any form of writing pads or utensils.

The only thing your child needs is comfortable cloths and a satisfied belly for a three hour session.

Your child may have a better computer; but, for ease of configuration, we ask that students leave their computer at home and use the computers provided at the facility.

The coding camp is for five days, and three hours per day;l totaling to 15 hours per registered session. Students will not be working continuously for three-hour sessions. Studies show that frequent breaks yield higher retention. Furthermore, real-world programmers often need to walk away from a problem before they can try to solve it.

Due to nature of the venue, kids will not be allowed to go outside the event center. The only exception to this rule is for children needing a bathroom break, in which they must be accompanied by a similar age buddy.