Spring 2016: STEAM2 Academy Hosts Spring Break Camp at Carmel Valley Recreation Center
This spring break (April 4-8, 9am-12pm) we are studying Entomology, Botany, Space Science, Geology and Marine Science at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center. Our approach to education encompasses hands-on learning whereby we are often found exploring the neighboring park area to focus our adventures on using a microscope or a magnifying glass to take a closer look at native plants and local bugs. We play a little bit of piano (Suzuki method), we paint and draw, we build with blocks and legos, and we use abacuses, tangrams and geoboards to hone our math/geometry skills. Our Spring Break Camp flyer has details. And, to better understand how our classes work, take a look at the STEAM2 Academy Facebook page!

Winter 2015: STEAM2 Academy Teacher Shares STEAM2 Concepts with Native Fijian Village!
This winter, STEAM2 Academy Director and Teacher Kimberly Mann Bruch travelled to Fiji to earn her Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate (TEFL). While there, she also had an opportunity to share her lessons learned on STEAM2 concepts with local students, volunteer organization staff, and local kindergarten teachers. Named Volunteer of the Week (February 2016), Kimberly's interview about the experience is found on the Frontier British Organization's website called Into the Wild".

Summer 2014: STEAM2 Academy Launches a Cube to Space!
Our Spring Saturday Science class was one of 100 teams selected to participate in the national Cubes in Space program, which launched a sounding rocket containing all 100 experiments from NASA's Wallops Research Center in Virginia on June 26. The purpose of our payload, coined by the STEAM2 Academy Team (ages 4-9) as "Nasturtiums in Zero Gravity", is to examine the impact of zero gravity upon the soil pH and the germination of a nasturtium seed. Because the germination process of this edible flower requires little water and poor soil, the young scientists hypothesize that zero gravity will not impact the growing process from seed to sprout.

The STEAM2 Academy students assembled a small amount of moist soil with three nasturtium seeds in a plastic bag. Specifically, the team collected soil from their backyards and patio gardens - combining the dirt to form a true STEAM2 Academy sample. The students used a plastic sandwich bag (2 grams), 3 nasturtium seeds (0.5 grams), and ten grams of moist soil for the experiment.

The STEAM2 Academy team also put together a YouTube slideshow showcasing a timeline of our Cubes in Space experience! You can take a look at this fun video here: And, you can also watch the June 26 sounding rocket launch from NASA Wallops!

Saturday Science 2014:
Don't forget to register for this Fall's Saturday Science classes at the Ocean Air Recreation Center! Classes run November 1-29.

Winter 2014:
Celebrating February with a Taste of Chocolate!

February STEAM2 Academy sessions focused on two topics: Entomology and Chocolate! No, we didn't make chocolate-covered bugs, although that is a pretty funny idea!

For our chocolate adventures, we first took a trip to the North University Community Library and learned all about the history and process of chocolate making. We had a fun art project regarding hot cocoa (topped with marshmallows!). Then, we dove into the Science of Chocolate and learned all about the origin and chocolate making process from our friend, Julie the Materials Scientist. Here's a brief video clip of Julie explaining where chocolate comes from: the cacao bean!

After we each had a chance to "touch and taste" some organic cacao nibs (you can get those at Ocean Beach People's Market), we experimented with some chocolate making!

To make the chocolate, we took some Wilton chocolate candy melts and melted them in the microwave. Then we scooped the melted chocolate into plastic molds and let them cool. When the chocolates were completely hardened (about 15 minutes), we took them out of the molds! They looked pretty and tasted delicious!

Some cool things we learned about chocolate include:

- Chocolate comes from beans of cacao trees
- Cacao beans first grew in rainforests of South and Central America
- Cacao beans can only be grown in tropics
- Chocolate was first made only as a drink
- The first chocolate bar was made in England in 1847
- Chocolate used to be so expensive only royals could afford it
- Most chocolates are dark, semisweet, unsweetened, milk, or white
- A chocolatier is a person skilled in making chocolate

That's all for now! We'll be exploring Garden Science for the month of March, so check back then to catch up with our Gardening adventures and some fun ideas you can try at home!

STEAM2 Academy's Chocolate Adventure at North University Community:

STEAM2 Academy's Introduction to the Cacao Bean Video:

Fun Links:
The San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park had a great Chocolate Exhibition last year and has an amazing list of resources on their website at!

The STEAM2 Academy utilizes curriculum, hands-on activities, and equipment developed in conjunction with the NASA California Space Grant Consortium (CSGC), the National Science Foundation funded High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), and the National Park Service Sea to Shining Sea (StSS).

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