Ashburn’s Mindframe Education was created to supplement children’s K-12 public school education.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is a buzzword that, while they know that it is important, many parents don’t fully understand.
In 2014, Lucy Singh, a mother of 8-year-old twins, and her husband co-founded Mindframe Education, a Loudoun County-based company dedicated to providing local children with more hands-on STEM activities through classes, an after-school program, camps and even birthday parties. Drawing upon her background as a network engineer, Lucy develops the curriculum behind Mindframe Education and talks to us about what students have to gain from some extra STEM experience.
How did you come up with the idea to start Mindframe Education?
We have fantastic schools in Loudoun County and they provide a great foundation for our students. However, the schools are not moving fast enough to keep up with the pace of technological advancement. We came up with the idea to start a STEM-enrichment company to supplement public school education and provide K-12 students with the opportunity to make learning fun and engaging.
What are some of the courses available at Mindframe Education?
We focus on six STEM tracks: programming and app development, digital arts, game design, science, math, robotics and engineering. In our classes, kids spend their time conducting science experiments, solving engineering challenges, designing and building robots, learning programming languages, working in web design, and 3-D modeling and printing.
Why is there such a need for today’s children to participate in additional STEM classes?
Today’s students need more than learning facts and reciting on it a test to be able to advance in the world. They need to learn how to use knowledge from school in combination with STEM tools [and] technologies to become designers, creators and builders. We strive for our students to learn the “how-to” methods such as the scientific method and design thinking. We also recognize how fast technology is changing and know we cannot teach them the exact skills they will need in 10 years, but what we can teach them is to be critical thinkers and scientists.
How do you design the courses and decide on the content?
Curriculum development is a priority for our team of teachers, and we are always focused on keeping our programs relevant and engaging. Our courses combine traditional education activities with the latest tools and technologies. While we have ambitious goals for our students, we always make sure the learning process is fun.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about STEM learning?
We often hear from people who think STEM is too hard, too technical or only for advanced learners. On the contrary, STEM is for all students and all levels. Our programs harness and direct kid’s innate curiosity and imagination to learn about their surroundings and solve problems.
What are some easy ways that parents of elementary-aged students can incorporate STEM learning into their everyday lives?
STEM is everywhere and it is very easy to incorporate lessons into your daily tasks. In our family we think of cooking as culinary science—you must know food groups, understand chemical reactions, temperature and pressure, use math to manipulate the recipe and creativity. Another great activity is gardening. In the process of designing and creating a garden, you must utilize a variety of STEM skills such as science, technology, math and engineering.
If you have a child who loves video games, we love encouraging them to think beyond playing and about creating. You may not have the same tools at home as we do in our game design lab, but you can easily encourage your child to create their own game using just paper and crayons.
Parents have a great advantage in knowing what their kids love. Like our instructors at Mindframe, we encourage you to take an existing interest and grow it in new ways. We are always amazed at what our students can do. // University Commerce Center: 44933 George Washington Blvd., Suite 160, Ashburn
Interview has been edited and condensed.