YADKINVILLE — When people think of a summer camp, sports are the first thing that pop in a person’s mind. The kids that took part in S.T.E.M at Courtney Elementary last week would kindly disagree. STEM camp is unlike any other summer camp for kids, as it enriches students’ minds and gets them to try something new.
The camp ran from Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Courtney Elementary. Kids ranging in ages 8 to 13, from across Yadkin County participated in the week-long camp.
“I have never been to a camp where we had to remind the kids to stop and use the bathroom or eat lunch,” said Becky Beamguard, the media and technology teacher at Courtney. “It reminded me why I like to teach.”
On Friday afternoon, parents of the students involved with the camp piled into the Courtney library to see what their kids had made. Excitement filed the air as the kids showed off their robot designs and their Lego animals.
Getting its name from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEM helps expand students minds by helping them get creative with robots, ladders, balloons and hammocks. The students that were involved in the camp developed their skills through project-based learning.
The students had different challenges that they had to complete each day. The first day they started with a robot, as they had to follow instructions and schematics from an iPad in order to make their robot move. The students had to build their robot’s program four different ways in order to move up to the next size robot. Most of the students elected to stay with the smaller robot.
“The enthusiasm of the kids throughout the week was my favorite part,” said Beamguard. “Nothing phased these kids. Everything we through at them they were excited about. They were willing to go back and think about what didn’t work and what did work.”
Every day, the students had to complete a STEM challenge. The first day the students built a Lego pet and used Q-tips to make a maze for the pet to make a stop motion video, they also had to build a two foot bridge that held weight, another day the kids had to build a hammock to hold a reasonable sized teddy bear, the students had to build the tallest balloon tower. The kids also learned how to use iMovie, a green screen, and several other technological components. Although the students didn’t get to keep their robots, they made several memories that will last them a lifetime.
This was the first time that STEM camp has been held in Yadkin County. The Yadkin County Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin brought the idea up in a meeting and the teachers took control as they knew it would be a great camp for the students of Yadkin County.
“I believe that we will have another camp next year,” said Beamguard. “Dr. Martin has received great feedback from the camp, so I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”