Last Friday, the students in Game Art & Design attended the US2020 STEM n Art Expo at The Frontier in RTP. This was the second US2020 field trip I have taken students on in the past couple of years. This expo presented them with an opportunity for them to learn about different ways that various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers use art to accomplish their goals. The event was split into three experiences: Path to the Park, Speed Mentoring and a Food Truck Rodeo for lunch.
Most students seemed to really enjoy the speed mentoring the most. In speed mentoring, students had an opportunity to speak with four to five different individuals while discussing what they do in four minute bursts. It was interesting to see the kids move around quickly to interact face-to-face with complete strangers while not being distracted by each other or their technologies. This may be something I can use in my classroom, though not in a mentoring fashion.
In Path to the Park, several displays were set up featuring a wide variety of careers. Students got to take part in a wide variety of hands-on exhibits ranging from scientific research to audio and graphical work. As one would expect, the display to draw the largest interest from both my students and the kids in attendance in general was display on virtual reality. This booth allowed students got to experience an HTC Vive by using Tilt Brush to paint in 3D space. This display was was the most relevant exhibit to game design, though they did have a hacking Minecraft display as well.
While you would expect an hour of downtime for lunch during the Food Truck Rodeo, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had set up one more display outside. While the focus for most kids was on eating during this time, several explored a display on robotics. They also enjoyed checking out the makeshift shop they put on-site.
The only surprise, or downside, to this event was that there weren't any representatives from the game industry present. Seeing as we have such a large game industry in the RTP area, this really surprised and disappointed me. But, overall, this field trip was a success as kids got to see that the skills they learn as game design students can be transferred to a wide variety of careers. There seemed to be a lot of younger students in attendance. This makes me wonder if I should take Sci Vis kids next year instead of Game Design...or maybe both. Regardless, I would definitely consider taking students again next year, depending on the topic of the event.
I am a high school Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher located in Durham, NC with a focus on game art and design. This blog provides a place for reflection on relevant classroom practices.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer or anyone else associated with Durham Public Schools.