Tale of Two Camps:
How Two Central Texas School Districts are Transforming Learning Through Summer STEM Camps
This video is part three of a project in development, my article to potentially submit as a guest blogger on TCEA TechNotes. The article is abased on a camp that I helped develop and support in Killeen ISD and another which I will support in Copperas Cove ISD. The two camps have similar themes and goals, but they were designed with different approaches. STREAM camp in Killeen ISD is nearing its fourth year, and is the foundation of the innovation plan I have been developing throughout my coursework in the digital learning and leading program. The Copperas Cove ISD camp is nearing its second year. It is my hope that by the fourth year of the Copperas Cove ISD summer stem camp that we will have measurable results that show students have made significant gains in math. That is the objective of the grant which makes that camp available for students.
How can we help students become competitive in the future workforce while reducing the summer slide? How can we help pique student interests and inspire them to explore topics in science, technology, engineering, and math? Two Central Texas school districts have hosted summer STEM camps to build student curiosity and creativity in topics that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore. In recent summers, students at the these two districts have had the opportunity to attend STEM camps to informally build skills, engage in design thinking, and find joy in learning. While taking different approaches, these two districts are achieving similar results: inspiring learners.
In recent summers, two central Texas school districts have hosted summer stem camps to build student curiosity and creativity in topics that they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to explore. At these camps students were able to informally build skills engage in design thinking and find joy in learning. While taking different approaches these two districts are achieving similar results: inspiring learners.
One camp was hosted mainly in elementary libraries. It was a homegrown camp with a variety of activities. Students used robots and made crafts, and participated in science experiments. The other camp was mainly for middle school students. The program came with a full curriculum and supplies. Students had opportunities to be creative. They participated in science experiments, and did engineering projects. And they invented!
Both school districts found creative ways to fund the camps.
Would you like to know more about how you can provide similar opportunities for students in. your school district? Look for my article in an upcoming TCEA TechNotes blog. In the article I will discuss how to acquire supplies and programs, creative strategies for acquiring funding, considerations for effective planning, and other tips for a successful camp.
Committee on STEM Education of the National Science & Technology Council (2018) Charting a course for success: America’s strategy for STEM education
Resnick, M., & Robinson, K. (2018). Lifelong kindergarten: Cultivating creativity through projects, passion, peers, and play. The MIT Press.
Teaching minds: How cognitive science can save our schools. Roger Schank. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2022, from https://www.rogerschank.com/teaching-minds-how-cognitive-science-can-save-our-schools
Sledd, W. (2021, July 7). DoDEA grant funds Stem summer camp for Cove students. Killeen Daily Herald. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://kdhnews.com/fort_hood_herald/across_the_fort/dodea-grant-funds-stem-summer-camp-for-cove-students/article_449aa0ea-de9c-11eb-91d1-bfb9774766cd.html.