“Doesn’t a heat gun sound cool?” exclaims Anika to a camper in “Beat the Heat” camp. A smile immediately lights up on the camper’s face as he gets excited to use a new tool. Anika is a junior in high school and one of the apprentices at KID Museum. Apprentices are high school students who work closely with KID educators to facilitate hands-on programming at KID which includes everything from sewing machines to power drills to 3D printers.
This particular morning, Anika is one of the five apprentices helping kids learn about circuits by demonstrating what a circuit is and helping guide the creation of a motorized fan. Medha, another apprentice, explains to another camper that heat shrink protects the connection of a circuit, and then answers a series of questions from the curious group.
The apprentices model how to inquire and innovate: They are quick to offer help to the kids while also reaching out to the educators for their respective advice. They are trained to know when to step back and let the kids figure things out on their own, and then when to intervene and assist. For example, when Katrina, an apprentice spots a kid short-circuiting, she steps in and helps troubleshoot.
When asked their favorite part about working at KID Museum, the apprentices unanimously agreed: the community and the kids. They all agree with Elizabeth who says, “We are constantly learning, from each other and the kids- and still have a lot to learn.” For example, apprentice Kanali says that working at KID has taught her the importance of being her own person and following her own path. Likewise, she has been able to instill younger kids with the belief that when they put their mind to something and work hard, they can accomplish any of their goals.
The circuit activity ends with a chorus of “good job!” and “awesome!” Even though each apprentice brings different experiences, skills, and interests to KID Museum, they all agreed that morning: “We are a family.”
Want to see the apprentices in action? Come to KIDfest, the DC region’s premier family festival celebrating making, creativity, and innovation on September 24.