KNE Challenge & STEM Night Update

It’s been a busy winter and spring at KNE! We built on last year’s momentum where close to 100 kids and adults took the KNE Challenge at our STEM Nights, STEM Talk, and other STEM-tastic events. Based on last year’s success with mentoring high school seniors to plan and organize fun, educational, community building events, we just finished working with 8 high school students on 2 STEM Nights at local elementary schools.

We were excited to do the inaugural STEM Night at a school last month. The KNE interns designed and planned 14 different activities and recruited close to 30 students to help at the event. The STEM Night also featured stations from the school’s teachers, parents, local groups, and even a paleontologist and entomologist (insect specialist) from the American Museum of Natural History. More than 150 elementary school students and their families enjoyed immersing themselves in animal dissections, dry ice experiments, binary bracelets, and more. Parents raved about the event.

One parent said, “STEM Night was a blast. Each station was so fun and engaging that the kids didn’t even notice they were learning in the process. The whole experience was made even better by the high school student volunteers who were great with the younger kids. My kids are already looking forward to next year.”

Another wrote, “One of the most wonderful things about STEM Night was that the children got immersed in learning from young adults who were not that much older than themselves. It brought complex topics like physics (hovercraft and paper airplanes), chemistry (slime making and dry ice activities), biology (dissections and live animals) and technology (lots of robots) all within reach of these young minds. STEM Night sparked the scientific imagination of children and parents alike as I think many left wanting to recreate these experiences at home. Most importantly, it was FUN and it’s OK to get a little messy.”

We just ran our second event at another elementary school (the second one we’ve done for them) with more than 40 student volunteers! We partnered with the same groups to bring the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and math to at least 150 more elementary school students and their families.

The STEM Nights are a terrific way for families to learn and build a greater sense of community. Close to another 60 students took the KNE Challenge and earned our awesome KNE T-shirt. Some of the high school volunteers were disappointed that we’re not doing any more STEM Nights this spring.

Don’t worry, both of these schools have already asked us to come back next spring! If you’re trying to start a STEM Night at your school, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help you get started!

A Human’s Owner’s Manual – Part 1

Why do human beings do what they do? There are entire fields of study dedicated to answering this age old question. Most of what drives the world is a net result of individual actions people have taken. Understanding why people do what they do (including you), will help you understand why the world works as it does, and provide opportunities to improve yourself, build and maintain relationships, and potentially lead to new and exciting places.

Continue reading “A Human’s Owner’s Manual – Part 1”

KNE Life Skills: It’s an Unpredictable World

In his book, Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal defines the difference between complicated environments and complex ones. Complicated environments have many different moving parts, but are ultimately deterministic – in other words, predictable. If you put in the same inputs, you get the same outputs. Think of a mechanical watch. It has many moving parts, but as long as it works properly, it will produce a very consistent and predictable output. If it breaks down, you call a subject matter expert, in this case a watchmaker, who repairs it back to predictable outcomes.

Continue reading “KNE Life Skills: It’s an Unpredictable World”

Reality – It’s Not Quite What You Think

When trying to get a better handle on reality, we have to admit that we can’t actually prove we aren’t in a Matrix-like simulation. But let’s ignore that for now by assuming that the input we get from our senses is an accurate indication of the world around us.

When you actually look at that input, you might be surprised to find that scientists have calculated that we are exposed to 400,000,000,000 bits of information a second, but only 2,000 of those bits register with the conscious human mind. The brain is an amazing filtering machine that automatically selects down to the “pertinent” information that it determines you need to know (“is that speeding car heading right for us?”).

No matter how well it filters (which we know is a bit questionable), we have to accept that we process a small percentage of reality. This means that reality, as you see it, is uniquely yours. Put two people in the same room and through different filters accumulated over a lifetime, the 2,000 bits of data that get through will be different, sometimes radically different.

In other words, reality is subjective. And often, such as when you are exposed to advertising, the input is crafted to make you experience reality in a specific way, so not only is it subjective, others are actively taking advantage of that to influence you.

Daniel Khaneman summed this up nicely in his book Thinking Fast and Slow: in the end, “what you see is all there is”. What makes it past your filters is your reality. If it didn’t, it might as well not exist. Think about this the next time you get into an argument with someone and wonder if they live in their own reality. In fact, they do. But then again, so do you!

Every person’s sense of reality is uniquely their own.

Why “Wanting” Isn’t Enough

When you “want” something, you are looking for a specific outcome that is somehow different than what you have today. That may seem simple, but it is hard to do well. If you look at New Year’s resolutions, people often want to be “rich”, “happy”, “famous”, or something similar, only to end up in the same place a year later.

So why do so many people fail to achieve their outcomes and how can you do it differently? At its heart, there are 3 questions to consider: Continue reading “Why “Wanting” Isn’t Enough”

STEM Talk Recap

Thank you to everyone that came to the first KNE STEM Talk on Saturday April 16th! All of our elementary through high school-aged presenters did an incredible job sharing their their STEM experiences in front of a live audience of ~40 people. Since this was our first STEM Talk, we wanted to keep it small (we only advertised to all of you!). The size worked out great for a first event. You can check out some of the presentations at the STEM links above. Continue reading “STEM Talk Recap”

Introducing the KNE Life Skills Page

Here at Kids Need Enrichment, our mission is to expose, engage and ultimately challenge kids in the amazing, fun and powerful world of STEM. Through our events and activities, we have seen a need to also provide kids help on more general skills we believe they will need to be successful in life that they might not get elsewhere.

While our core mission continues to be STEM oriented, we created a “Life Skills” page to contain a collection of essays and guides that kids can use to help them achieve what they want in life. Continue reading “Introducing the KNE Life Skills Page”

The exciting line up for our STEM Talk on April 16th!

We’re very excited about our 1st KNE STEM Talk at the Port Washington Public Library on Saturday 4/16 from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Come see local kids from elementary through high school share their exciting STEM experiences! Our phenomenal line up includes:

  • 2nd graders the Congokids – Jr. FIRST LEGO League’s Wastewise Challenge
  • 4th grader Alexa – The Toughest Creature on Earth
  • 5th grader Tyler – My Robot Creation
  • 7th grader Lucas – Astronomy
  • 7th grader Erika – Finding Fossils in NJ
  • 11th grader Anna – Addiction in Planaria
  • 11th grader Katherine – Recovery After Rowing
  • 12th grader Emma – Science Research

It’ll be a STEM-tastic learning event. Plus, we’ll have a free raffle for 2 sets of deluxe tickets to the American Museum of Natural History. Everyone gets a chance to win just for coming!

Feel free to share the invitation. We hope you can join in the fun!

15 Interns

Kids Need Enrichment now has 15 interns!?! It all started with a couple of high school seniors interested in STEM-oriented volunteering who asked if they could work with us for their Senior Experience, our local high school’s “opportunity to design, propose, and carry out a project of their own choice on a topic of personal interest.” They had great ideas and we decided to channel them into several projects including 3 STEM Nights at local elementary schools and our upcoming KNE STEM Talk on Saturday 4/16. Continue reading “15 Interns”