When I was a kid, my only experience with summer camp was a week-long sleep away camp my mom somehow let me attend when I was about 10 and 11. I learned things I still use today, for example, how to paddle a canoe (or kayak), how to swim while dragging something with one hand, and how to shoot a bow and arrow. Okay, the last skill doesn’t come into play too often, but living in Miami, the first two do!
Now that my own son is now old enough to go to camp, it is exciting and fulfilling to see him getting excited about attending different summer maps. .
With this information in mind, my friend and I planned and conducted a week-long summer camp for rising 2nd – 5th graders that would expose young minds to STEAM. It was important to us to expose them to the Design Process and also give them practice with skills such as persistence and problem solving.
We broke down the week as follows:
Monday: STEAM Day
- Activity 1: Snap Circuits – we did 3-5 different activities that allowed students to build their own circuits
- Activity 2: 3D Printing – Students used Tinkercad to design a Minecraft Creeper Bobblehead
Tuesday: Maker Day!
- Activity 1: Father Day Gift Making – students designed father’s day cards that were laser cut and decorated wooden bow ties
- Activity 2: Little Bits Inventor Kits
Wednesday: Engineering Day
- Activity 1: Build an Earthquake Resistant House Challenge
- Activity 2: Bridge that Gap Challenge with K’NEX
Thursday: CSed Day
- Activity 1: Makey Makey Activity – students learned what household objects they brought in were good conductors and made a piano they could play out of fruit
- Activity 2: Swift Playgrounds on the iPad: Learn to Code 1
Friday: Robotics Day
- Activity 1: Lego Spike Prime – students worked through the sensor tutorials to learn how everything works
- Activity 2: Hopper Race! – Students used Lego kits to build, test, redesign and race their Hopper Robots
And of course, we scheduled in time for the kids to run around and play and get some energy out.
We don’t have a ton of experience with this age group, however, we received incredible feedback from the parents and kids. The best part is that the campers continued some of the things we did in camp at home. For example, several students made their parents download swift playgrounds and other students put a 3D printer on their future Christmas list. So, I would say: Mission Accomplished!