The new year is here, but we ended 2023 with a bang! This Fall, GMCC held programming at our facility three days a week, from October 24th to December 16th. Just as we did in the Spring, we offered simultaneous programs for both youth and adults.

Weekdays at GMCC

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we offered tutoring for students grades 1-12. Students received homework help and mentorship from skilled tutors, and had access to our computer lab.

Parents and adult community members also had computer lab access on weekdays. In the computer lab, adults could utilize self-guided curriculum on basic digital literacy, and receive support from staff with navigating computer and internet use.

Saturdays: LakeStreet Youth Labs

On Saturdays, elementary-aged youth participated in LakeStreet Youth Labs (previously Genius Labs), where they built STEAM skills through hands-on educational activities. We had visiting instructors each week who taught us about a variety of topics.

Grad students from the University of Minnesota Chemistry Department kicked off the first Saturday with a demonstration of different chemical reactions. We got to watch as they made “elephant toothpaste” from hydrogen peroxide, created flames of different colors, and catalyzed balloon explosions. It was so cool that even the parents had to come see!

U of M Chemistry grad students demonstrating colorful flame reactions

Afterwards, the chemists led students in a hands-on activity making patterns in milk using dish soap and food coloring.

Students doing a hands-on experiment with milk, dish soap, and food coloring

The Bell Museum taught us how to build catapults out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Students had fun practicing their engineering skills! They made lots of adjustments to their contraptions to see whose catapult could launch pom poms the highest.

Student testing out her handmade catapult; a close-up of the contraption

GMCC Youth Program Manager Deeq Abdi taught a lesson on gravity. We measured how high each student could jump, and then calculated how high everybody would be able to jump on different planets and moons depending on their gravity.

Deeq teaching students about gravity on different planets; program staff helping students make calculations

We learned all about reptiles and amphibians with the Dodge Nature Center, who actually brought live critters for us to hold!

Students handling one of the live snakes

Ney Nature Center (who previously partnered with us for our Spring and Summer programs) hosted a workshop on nature journaling. We braved the cold to go on a short nature walk in the neighborhood, picking up any pieces of nature that interested us. Then, students documented their findings in their own nature journals, drawing interesting roots or making rubbings of dried leaves.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation brought a “Bridge in a Bag” activity, helping students construct a miniature bridge. Students tested the sturdiness – it was even strong enough for tutor/guide Domonique to cross!


MN DOT helping students construct a bridge; program staff Domonique testing the bridge’s sturdiness

Saturdays: Tech Teens and Digital Literacy 101

Middle and high school youth participated in Tech Teens, where they took training to become Digital Navigators. They completed self-guided Digital Navigation curriculum, with the support of program staff. These students are now eligible for paid opportunities to teach digital skills to adults and other youth at GMCC.

Program staff Domonique walking students through Digital Navigation curriculum

The older students also did career exploration by talking to different STEAM professionals. Guest speakers included representatives from Minneapolis technology and engineering school Prime Academy, local public library Franklin Library, and even NASA!

Also on Saturdays, parents/adults engaged in guided curriculum on topics like media literacy, cyber security, and job searching.

It was great to see so many returning faces from the Spring and Summer, youth, parents, and staff alike.

Keep checking GMCC’s websites and socials for upcoming news about Spring 2024!