We’ve Become Civil Engineers!

iNERDE’s Colonie de Vacances STEM Week Two Recap & Preview of Week Three

Time seems to be flying by here at iNERDE’s Colonie de Vacances STEM as we just finished up our second week in Mali! This week the students focused on physics, anatomy, natural science, and engineering. They built marshmallow catapults, studied the circulatory system, and constructed spaghetti drawbridges.

“The most rewarding part of my week was watching Mohamadou struggle with uncooperative pasta and hands caked with glue, and then turn to me in a moment of pride and exclaim ‘We have become Civil Engineers!’ That proclamation captured the essence of our vision; to show our 4th and 5th graders that they are the leaders of tomorrow who will transform their surroundings for the better.”

– Rebecca Brosseau, iNERDE Empowerment Agent

Thanks again to all of our week two activity sponsors!

Nerd Spotlight



Age  11 years old

Favorite Subject  Math

What I Want to be When I Grow Up  Pilot, because then I could travel around the whole world

If I had a Robot…  It would do my homework and cook for me when I got hungry

Favorite Food Burgers and burritos

Physics Lab

Sponsored by Barry D. McGinnis

Kouta showing off the marshmallow catapult that she and Bada built. In this activity, our nerds learned about levers, fulcrums, forces by constructing catapults and launching marshmallows.

Mohamed and Diaou demonstrating the string telephone while everyone learns about sound waves.

The Human Body

Sponsored by Roy Miller

Our nerds learned the circulatory system by playing red blood cell musical chairs. 

iNERDE Empowerment Agents Nadia Famularo & Rebecca Brosseau teach the parts of the body in English by using the age-old classic “head, shoulders, knees, and toes”.

Natural Science Lab

Sponsored by Kalyani Guntur, Douglas Mizutani, & Michael Giuggio


iNERDE Empowerment Agent Rebecca Brosseau explains chemistry and pH to several of the nerds.

Kouta shows that it’s fashionable to wear safety goggles in the lab!

Technology & Engineering Lab

Sponsored by Gretchen Reed, Katryn Keita, & Serge Brosseau

The students have been keeping their own scientific notebooks, taking notes, drawing diagrams, and jotting down their ideas.

Mohamadou checks the stability of his spaghetti bridge.

What’s in Store for Week Three?

Week Three Activity Sponsors
Vehicle Design and Construction
Wendy Lai Kowloon

Musical Instruments and Tools
Eri Kajita

Electrical Systems & Field Trip to Energie du Mali
Vivek Vishnudas – Electrical Systems Activity
Kenneth Barrett – Field Trip to Energie du Mali

Construction Lab
Jennie Leigh

This is the Week 2 Newsletter. Click here to go to the Week 3 Newsletter.