10th Anniversary NFB Youth Slam

10th Anniversary NFB Youth Slam


We posed the question: how can the number of blind students interested in science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics be increased? After some thought and
initial research, we hypothesized that a week-long summer program that
allows blind students from around the country to get hands-on experience in
STEM subjects and to meet blind scientists would increase the number of
blind students interested in STEM. We gathered a host of blind students,
dozens of blind mentors, and numerous STEM professionals from around the
country to conduct our NFB Youth Slam. We filled our lab kits with accessible lab
equipment and filled our minds with accessible instructional strategies. Then
we all traveled to Towson University to be immersed in a week of STEM activities
in a university environment. Throughout this brief film, along with the photos
and videos of the various activities, students from our Youth Slam will describe
their experience at NFB Youth Slam. [Student] Before traveling to Baltimore, we built
our schedules for the week from a list of twenty-six STEM classes and sixteen recreation activities. We began each instructional day with our chosen tracks, which
provided twenty hours of hands-on learning throughout the week. Eight tracks were
offered including computer science, where we learned computer programming by
making games; cognitive neuroscience, which covered how the human brain
performs various functions; LEGO physics lab, which challenged us to create a LEGO
device; installation art, where we could explore and create multi-sensory art to
convey STEM topics; aquatic ecosystems, where we studied aquatic organisms;
microprocessor lab, that had us build accessible devices using the Arduino
platform; an interactive introduction to the history principles and practice of
genetics; and hydrostatics of hull design, where we designed and built
actual full-size boats. Each afternoon we attended a different enrichment session,
which allowed us to learn about four STEM disciplines beyond the discipline
of our track. Some of the enrichment sessions offered were
Chemistry of Cooking, where we learned about the chemistry principles involved
in making pancakes and ice cream; shark dissection enhanced our surgical
skills while we dissected dogfish sharks; Crime Stoppers in Chemistry challenged
us to use chemistry to identify evidence in hypothetical crime cases; Hot Stuff
taught us nonvisual techniques for soldering; Shoots, Roots, and Fruits
introduced us to the diversity of plant forms and how they relate to plant
functions; and introduction to SWIFT playgrounds showed us how to write
programs to fly drones. After spending eight hours exercising our brains, we
spent the evening participating in recreation activities designed to
exercise our bodies and our creative muscles. During the jam session we
gathered with our instruments to rock out. {music} Some of us worked together to solve
problems, uncover clues, and crack codes in the escape room. Others participated
in a friendly Goalball tournament. A group of us along with volunteers spent
some time in hair and makeup before heading out for the Nature Hike Zombie
Walk. We also busted a move while learning the basics of salsa dancing. At the end of the week, we became the teachers when he presented what we’d
learned throughout the week to our peers at the NFBYouth Slam Expo. [Voiceover] At the NFB Youth Slam Expo,
Mili shows Brook the LEGO zipline device she created. Chris explains a 3D DNA model to Abdi, and Caitlin learns about the boat Cobe built. [Narrator] In conclusion, given access to accessible
and engaging, hands-on STEM learning opportunities, blind students, just like
their sighted peers, get excited about futures in science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics. [Student 1] This one time at Youth Slam in 2017, I dissected a shark. [Student 2] I programmed my first bit of JavaScript code and made a musical keyboard that you can
play it with your computer keyboard. [Student 3] I’m Camryn, and this
one time at the NFB Youth Slam 2017, I used a drill to screw a screw to a piece
of wood. [Student 4] This one time in Youth Slam in 2017, I flew a drone exactly a month later after my dad told me that I cannot fly drones
because it was too dangerous. [Student 5] My name is Thomas, and at Youth Slam 2017 I built a boat, won first place in a race, and had a mermaid headpiece. [Student 6] This one time at NFB
Youth Slam 2017, we were dissecting a shark. Inside the shark we found multiple
fish the shark had just eaten. [Student 7] It’s Molly, and this one time at Youth Slam,
I learned how to use a ruler. [Student 8] This is Maura, and this one time at Youth Slam 2017, I learned how to use a handsaw, a power drill, a screwdriver, and wire
cutters, so slam that! {cheering}

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