This year, the Auburn University College of Education STEM Summer Camp was fortunate to have raised funds through Tiger Giving Day to purchase Ozobots. These bots were a big part of a great experience for the campers, who used technology to solve real-world problems.
At the camp, rising 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade campers unleashed their curiosity during three weeks in June. STEM, of course, is the interdisciplinary and applied approach of science, technology, engineering, and math within a curriculum-based framework which engages students in authentic, meaningful learning environments. Literacy and language arts, along with social science skills and strategies, were also integrated into this framework.
Campers had a blast conducting experiments, exploring their creativity, and challenging their critical thinking skills. Preservice teachers, with the guidance of the elementary education program faculty, were also challenged as they planned, collaborated, implemented, and reflected in order to gain valuable experiences in their STEM Summer Camp field placement. Each of the three weeks focused on a different STEM theme, which included robotics, structures, and force and motion. Robotics was particularly exciting to the campers.
During Robotics Week, preservice teachers and campers explored the impact of robotics in our society. They used various coding and robotic elements including the aforementioned Ozobots, Dot and Dash, and Osmo. Campers created a moving object, built robotic hands using hydraulics, and built hydraulic machines. Preservice teachers were able to integrate and use technology in a way that encouraged learning and promoted deeper levels of thinking.
During Structures Week, preservice teachers and campers investigated how design influences the building of structures. Campers designed and built houses, towers, and bridges. All campers developed a hypothesis and tested their designs against common weather elements. During Force and Motion Week, preservice teachers and campers explored how force and motion showed up in our everyday lives. They used their knowledge of Newton’s Laws to build cars, amusement park rides, and rockets.
On the final day of STEM Summer Camp, friends and family of the campers came to campus to check out what their camper learned during camp. Campers were able to explain and demonstrate how using technology safely can generate new ideas and solve real-world problems. This exciting celebration of learning is also an opportunity for preservice teachers to realize just how much they have taught their campers during STEM Summer Camp.
Thanks again to our generous Tiger Day of Giving donors who helped make this special camp possible.