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STEM activities go virtual over summer break to keep kids engaged with learning

Jackson, Mich. -- A collaboration between several Jackson County organizations aims to keep kids of all ages engaged in learning all summer long through several different virtual activities.

I3: Invent, Innovate, Imagine! is designed for K-12 youth throughout Jackson, offering access to top quality, hands-on STEM activities in a virtual setting. The program is made possible by the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association (JAMA), the Jackson County Intermediate School District (JCISD), The Shop Rat Foundation, INNOVATE Albion, the Jackson District Library, and Spring Arbor University’s Engineering Department.

“JAMA usually offers a STEM camp for elementary students over the summer, like ‘I Can Make It! Camp’, but COVID had us reimagining what we can do virtually instead,” said Amanda Loveland, Youth Program Director for JAMA. “We didn’t want our kiddos to disengage from their usual, fun learning opportunities just because of a pandemic, so we asked partner organizations to come together and offer some hands-on STEM activities on a virtual platform.”

Students of all ages can participate in live Zoom sessions that cover basic robotics, intro and advanced coding, engineering, identifying invasive species, the science of sound, and more. They will be provided with the materials ahead of time so they can participate in the virtual activities.

"We recognize how challenging it was for students and their families last summer not having the opportunities to explore and engage through summer camps,” said Kelly Burr Kofflin, Executive Director for The Shop Rat Foundation. “It was important to us, and our partners, that we do what we could to eliminate the barriers that we've faced through the pandemic and provide safe, accessible and fun learning experiences to our community youth."

JCISD Science Consultant Bill Montgomery hopes to make this pilot program a regular offering to area students. “We are looking forward to the kids having some STEM fun this summer and taking the feedback from participating families to help this grow into our annual programming.”

Sessions begin June 21. Registration and a complete schedule can be found at

STEM series schedule

Kaci Babineau
Marketing & Special Projects