Do you want to inspire your children, grandkids, or students to think more about their neighborhoods, communities, and the world around them? What about encouraging STEAM learning through fun, educational activities that engage their imaginations, creativity, and critical thinking skills (and provide physical exercise at the same time?)
Take them on an MAF ArchiTrek adventure!
MAF is pleased to announce the expansion of its children’s educational program, ‘ArchiTreks’ to the Michigan Learning Channel (MLC). ArchiTreks is a program aimed at getting kids excited about architecture, science, and engineering through segments that take kids on neighborhood adventures to explore shapes, structures, landmarks, and preservation, and pique curiosity about their surroundings. Created by MAF in partnership with Detroit Public Television (DPTV), each of the ArchiTreks video segments feature fun activities that can be done at home or on a neighborhood walk with parents, siblings, or friends. Along the way, kids can discover architectural treasures, and learn more about gravity’s role in architecture, architecture’s role in their neighborhoods, and more. (watch ArchiTreks episodes on the MLC website).
The MLC hosts free programming in the form of on-demand lessons and live TV, broadcast via special on-air channels established by each of the participating public television stations in Michigan. It is also available as a livestream and stored for on-demand viewing on a variety of digital platforms, ensuring accessibility to all students, teachers and families across the state. Prior to the development of MLC, MAF’s ArchiTreks episodes were broadcast on DPTV and hosted on the DPTV website. In addition to the MLC, ArchiTreks episodes are featured on MAF’s website and MAF’s YouTube channel, ‘Architecture for Youth.’
The idea for ArchiTreks developed from the MAF Educational Committee’s quest to get its ‘Architecture: it’s Elementary’ educational curriculum, which was originally developed for teachers to use in the classroom, in front of a wider audience,” said Randy Case, AIA, MAF Educational Committee member. “Due to teacher’s already packed schedules, which can make using the Architecture: it’s Elementary lessons on a regular basis challenging, we knew that we would have to get creative about expanding its reach beyond the classroom.”
That opportunity came in the form of an encounter Randy had with DPTV President & CEO Rich Homberg. MAF and DPTV worked together to develop and produce the program, and engaged two young Michigan architects, Bryan Cook and Jessica Marji, to serve as program hosts. During Covid, Michigan’s leaders were looking for ways to expand learning opportunities for students, and in response, the Michigan Legislature funded the MLC.
MAF’s partnership with MLC will help us continue to produce creative videos that reach a much wider audience than MAF could through our own network,” said Jan Culbertson, MAF Educational Committee Chair. “While it’s still too early to know the full impact ArchiTreks may have on getting children interested in architecture and the built environment, the statistics are impressive. In 2022, ArchiTreks was viewed by over 34,600 households across the state and in northern Indiana, via seven public media stations.”
In addition to ArchiTreks, Randy invites parents, educators, students, and other stakeholders to visit the Resources for Kids tab on MAF’s website for additional educational offerings for students of all ages. “On the MAF website, you can download the Architecture: it’s Elementary lesson plans,” he says, “and you can also view some of the lesson plans in action on MAF’s Architecture for Youth YouTube channel.” MAF also curated the Build Imagination book collection, and Build Imagination architectural toy collections, which are available through Michigan libraries (both Build Imagination collections were funded and are supported through MAF’s Dumke Fund.
Jan adds, “MAF also offers scholarships for both graduate and undergraduate college and university students studying architecture in Michigan. And this month, we launched the MAF Education Awareness Grants program, to help fund additional programming and initiatives that creatively connect K-12 students with architecture.”