K12 outreach is a passion at KSQ Design and recognized as a direct way for us to give back to our communities and get to know our clients and end users better. We consider it a bonus when there's a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) angle, since supporting STEM efforts also supports our industry and protects its future. We were lucky enough to have a chance to support STEM education recently when we hosted educators in our Charlotte office and students in our Tulsa office. In Charlotte, KSQ hosted Lillie Ellis and Brittany Nalley–two math teachers in the Rock Hill School District–and introduced them to the AEC industry while partnering up to create a "perfect teaching environment." KSQ leadership and staff guided the teachers through the design process, including programming, planning, designing, creating models and selecting furniture and materials for an ideal classroom. The classroom planning included a discussion on how sustainability features create a positive effect on students and the learning environment as a whole.
The teachers also met with engineers, toured a project site and participated in discussions on how teachers can apply their knowledge of mathematics to architecture and engineering. In turn, the teachers shared their thoughts and expertise on classroom needs, curriculum planning and educational trends with KSQ staff. The final result of the visit and educator/architecture collaboration was a complete design of what the teachers considered an ideal learning environment:
In our Tulsa office we hosted middle and high school students again this year who are participating in Camp T-Square, a week-long camp focused on reinforcing STEM principles and skills. The camp is organized and supported by the Eastern Oklahoma American Institute of Architects chapter and the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance. During their visit at KSQ, staff from both the interior and architecture sides created a program for the campers that challenged them to create tree houses that are anything but typical. The 20 campers were asked to draw a number out of a hard hat to determine the station they would be working in for the project. The four stations created by staff included space planning/sketching, physical model, computer design/model, and interior and exterior finishes. Each station was guided by two staff members and the campers had a specific role in tree house design to focus on.
The campers took their projects seriously and provided insightful thoughts and ideas to KSQ staff on how to create the ultimate tree house. After project time was up, the campers all toured each project section to see what was created at the other stations and to have fellow campers talk them through their work.
And stay tuned, because KSQ's STEM Summer isn't over yet–we have an exciting Project Classroom announcement on the way!