Kids Learn STEM Through Fashion Design

By Amy Golod,

A science, technology, engineering and math company offers 3-D printing, robotics and other enrichment courses.

"Simon Hopkins, a senior at Park City High School in Utah, works as an instructor at Zaniac, a national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) enrichment franchise. Hopkins recently concluded one of Zaniac's first six-week fashion design courses at the company's Park City campus. He began each week's class with a brief fashion history lesson, teaching that Converse All Star shoes were originally designed for basketball players, and that Nike, Inc., was named after the Greek goddess of the same name.

He would then suggest a project for the students to complete on Inkscape, open-source vector graphics software, leaving the majority of the class time for the students to create their own clothing designs, "interpreting what I [had] taught them between the history of fashion and the instructions on how to use Inkscape," he says.

Fashion design is now taught at all six Zaniac campuses. The 90-minute sessions are weekly and organized with a 5:1 student-to-instructor ratio. Fashion design is for fourth- through eighth-graders, but Zaniac offers other after-school programs and camps for kindergarten through eighth-grade students and focuses on a variety of STEM activities such as, robotics and 3-D printing. Zane Math, the original program from which Zaniac classes grew, provides customized math enrichment. There are currently two campuses in Utah, three in the Northeast, and one in Miami. Other locations are scheduled to open this fall."

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