STEM summer camp 2016 generates success — and fun — once again

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As students scurried about Shannon LoRusso’s Lower School STEM room for the perfect amount of plastic bottles and boxes to use for the cardboard boat competition, it was fairly easy to see how cool the fourth edition of STEM summer camp at Admiral Farragut Academy was.

“My boat is gonna be the best, hands down,” said one camper.

“Whatever. Mine is,” said another.

Turns out, everyone was a winner as summer campers once again learned the type of engineering skills necessary to be future designers, builders, and innovators.

“The best thing about learning engineering at an early age is the process,” LoRusso said.

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“Engineering is about trying. Attempting something is the first step in discovering what works. If you fail, then you learn what you need to do to improve. In addition, working together on a project does wonders for the process of discovery.”

A little over 30 students attended the STEM summer camp this year with 18 kids attending the first one-week session in early July and 13 kids attending the second one towards the end of the month. The camp focuses on helping kids understand how things work by using hands-on, real-world problem solving.

The program uses the following fun activities as precursors to complex projects like building the cardboard boat or a robotic vehicle (with intended goal in parentheses):

Hungry Hippos (team building)

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Paper Tower (work through failure)

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Cup building (teamwork and communication)

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Tic Tac Go! (strategy, planning ahead, solutions in timely fashion)

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Water balloon catapults – engineering, building, trajectory

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“At the end of the day, the camp is about learning how to be an engineer in a fun way,” LoRusso said.