The AT&T Teen Tech Challenge is a new four-month STEM education program developed in partnership with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub and Greater Rochester After School Alliance (GRASA). Working with the Boys & Girls Club, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the project is designed to engage high school youth with a variety of STEM topics of their own choosing, and culminate in a three-way competition where each site will propose a technology-based challenge and all will create solutions or prototypes in response. Running from August 1st through December 15th, and including field trips and presentations by community experts, each agency will lead youth through their selected curricula/badge requirements and present an interactive exhibit of their learning at Lights On After School on October 25th. Phase two of the project will kick off that same evening when each team will reveal their challenge to the others. The teams then have 5-6 weeks to complete the challenges and prepare a second exhibit for a December showcase and celebration.
Each site is taking the opportunity to build capacity with this project. The Boys & Girls Club has been able to expand their current STEM programming to an older age group, and are able to cover membership fees for 12 -15 members. Girl Scouts have formed a new partnership and created a STEM-focused troop at a residential center, where 14 young women are participating. The Boy Scouts are partnering with the local YMCA Teen Program and will be registering 12-15 members, as well. All three programs are urban-based and creating membership opportunities for underserved youth, many for the first time.
While each agency is including components of its own programming in the curriculum and covering a wide range of youth interest, all topics are focused on components of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The three sites collectively will include programming on Simple Machines, Robotics, Electricity and Circuits, and will all include LEDs in their challenges.
This program is funded by a one-time grant and may be renewed yearly if possible based on funding.