Throughout July, elementary and middle school students participated in the second-ever Makers Camp. Makers Camp embraces the idea of being intellectually engaged and pursuing knowledge throughout one’s lifetime—and for students, even over the summer! This year, over 60 students across New York, Edison, Richmond, and Washington DC, spent time every Thursday after Jamatkhana partaking in hour-long modules focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). STEM is a set of growing fields and an objective of Makers Camps is to cultivate interest amongst the youth of the Jamat.
Students learned about the importance of environmental stewardship, a key ethic in Islam. They worked together in teams to explore alternative energy and built air-propeller cars. Here, students also began to understand the challenges of climate change in discussions. They also learned about the importance of utilizing limited resources and maximizing efficiency in a tower challenge where they tried to build the tallest and most resilient tower, with the least amount of resources. Participants also spent time learning about chemical reactions by making rock candy. In our faith, the purpose of gaining knowledge is to better the world around you and the Makers Camps’ centerpiece utilized science, technology, engineering, and math, with this objective in mind.
Participants across the Northeast both learned and had fun over the four sessions with several looking to come back week after week. Makers Camps taught students concepts in science and engineering but also helped build real-life skills. Participant Ziana Bhimji said, “Makers Camps taught me how to work with a team, do different tasks at the same time, and communicate with others.” Even facilitators gained from the experience. Content Facilitator Sahir Karani said, “Seeing the faces of the youngsters in the Jamat when they build a wind-powered car or an LED name sign, is very fulfilling. The excitement to come back the next week and learn something new while having fun can compare to nothing else.”