Columbia STEAM Academy at Storm King

COLUMBIA steam academy at storm king

(participation by invitation only)

 (7/04/18 – 7/21/18)

 

Program Summary

  • 2-week immersive summer academy in which students participate in qualitative and quantitative scientific field work in the watershed of the Black Rock Forest while concurrently engaging in an intensive study of literature, writing and the arts
  • Outside of class, students take advantage of the robust recreational resources available and participate daily in extracurricular offerings including sports, crafts, games, drama and entertainment
  • The academy is conducted at the Storm King School on Storm King Mountain, adjacent to the Black Rock Forest research center and biological field station, which serves as an outdoor research center and scientific laboratory for the academy
  • Instruction from professionally distinguished teachers and graduate-level instructors from Columbia University and other top-tier American universities
  • Students who complete the course satisfactorily receive a certificate of course completion

Throughout these immersive two weeks, students study the ecology of the natural water systems that serve the communities of the nearby metropolitan area. Students participate in qualitative and quantitative scientific field work in the watershed of the Black Rock Forest while concurrently engaging in an intensive study of literature, writing and the arts. Through the study of these disciplines students explore the scientific, ethical, aesthetic and personal dimensions of the relationship between human beings and the environment. As a culminating project, students in the Academy design and produce a creative, research-based presentation from their combined learning in the academic and creative disciplines of science, technology, arts, engineering and mathematics.

Outside of the class, the students will participate daily in extracurricular offerings including sports, crafts, games, drama and entertainment. The students are provided with a nurturing environment in which they can excel and gain self-confidence as they learn the benefits of teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership through extracurricular activities. Our instructors guide each activity attentively and provide a culture in which students are able to have fun and thoroughly enjoy each experience.

Science Coursework

The science component of the Academy invites students to think critically about one of the major resources on the planet – water. The two-week intensive program starts out examining the geology and biodiversity of the surrounding Black Rock Forest to better understand how water is supplied to communities – both rural and urban. Students with the aid of their instructors monitor the health of this vital resource in the field research area, and explore methods that sustain the resource for local communities. Throughout the two-week program students engage directly in qualitative and quantitative scientific field work in the watershed of the Black Rock Forest, participating in such environmental study projects, as constructing biocubes, making leaf packets, conducting tests on dissolved oxygen and nitrate loads, and visiting a wastewater treatment facility. As a culminating project, students in the Academy design and produce a creative, research based presentation that demonstrates a deeper understanding and appreciation for Earth’s water resources.

Humanities Coursework

The humanities component of the Academy provides emerging English speakers with language, rhetorical strategies, and forms to write about the natural world. Students keep a field journal, filled throughout the week with noticings and reflections drawn from their experience of the natural surroundings of the Hudson Valley. Concurrently, students read works by a range of writers who have explored the relationship between man and nature. Ultimately, students create their own poems, essays and other writings that analyze and reflect on our connection to nature and the world around us. Both courses culminate together in a conference where students share their work with one another and the larger community.

Arts Coursework

The arts component of the Academy invites students to examine patterns in nature and camera framing strategies. Informed by its geology, Black Rock Forest’s beautiful woodlands, sky, and bodies of water are home to many interconnected forms of life. There are also many historical markers of man’s impact on the land which have different stories to tell. Through demonstration and experimentation, students learn about the mechanics of human vision, replicate some of the discoveries of optical physics, and how to better use their cameras to discover stories of nature and man which are often hidden in plain sight! By discussing, experimenting, and observing, students document their discoveries of nature and create a multimedia record of their findings for others to follow.

Monday – Friday

Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Class

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Class
  • Extracurricular Activities

Evening

  • Dinner
  • Study Hall
  • Evening Activity/Advisory Group

 

Course Schedule Details

Day 1

  • All Subjects: Field Journal Genre Study
  • Journey to Black Rock Forest for an Observation Introduction

Day 2

  • Humanities: Describing the Natural World – Field Journal Writing
  • Science: Planting Leaf Packs
  • Arts: Understanding the Mechanics of Human Vision

Day 3

  • Humanities: Reading and Reflection – Nature Poetry
  • Science: Creating Biocubes
  • Arts: Observing, Examining and Discussing Patterns in Nature

Day 4

  • Humanities: Writing Poetry
  • Science: Planting Biocubes
  • Arts: Experimenting, & Documenting Visual Discoveries in Nature

Day 5

  • Humanities: Reading and Reflection – Nature Essays
  • Science: Exploring Maps & Topography
  • Arts: Experimenting, & Documenting Visual Discoveries in Nature

Day 6

  • Humanities: Idea Generation – Nature Essay
  • Science: Exploring Qualitative Measures of Water
  • Arts: Discussing and Organizing Visual Art Collections

Day 7

  • Humanities: Writing – Nature Essay
  • Science: Dissecting and Analyzing Leaf Packs and Biocubes
  • Arts: Finalizing Visual Art Portfolios

Day 8

  • Humanities: Revision of Final Piece
  • Science: Examining Wastewater Treatment
  • Arts: Publishing Visual Art Portfolios

Day 9

  • Preparing Presentations for the Academic Conference

Day 10

  • Presenting in the Academic Conference

Required Materials for the Course

  1. Notebook(s)
  2. Writing tools
  3. Laptop or tablet