DCCC Engages Students with Fun Learning Activities through STEM Camp
July 24, 2013 – Students in elementary and middle school don’t always get overly excited when learning about things like math and science, but kids who participated in the STEM Camp at Davidson County Community College found that education can be both enjoyable and exciting.
The camp, which was geared to stimulate an interest in science, technology, engineering and math, while learning about robotic programming using LEGO Mindstorm robots, ended with a competition designed to engage students in their newly learned skills.
“The competition was a combination of engineering design problems that campers had been presented with throughout the week,” said Anissa Causey, project coordinator at DCCC. “Competition tables were designed to feature local industries from Davidson and Davie counties, allowing students to learn about real industries in the Triad, as well as experience real-world scenarios.”
Students, grouped in teams of three, took on different roles – structural engineer, mechanical engineer and programmer in order to complete challenges in only a couple of minutes. The challenges included scenarios that might be completed in real-world industries, such as picking up a table from Ashley Furniture, crossing a bridge and delivering products to another company and more.
At the end of the competition, winning teams were announced. Winners in the fourth through sixth grade category included Diamond Chameleons in first place, Snickerdoodles came in second and Storm Chasers took third place. In the seventh and eighth grade category, Magic Robots took first place, Robot Minds took second and Pure Awesome took third place.
Students such as Evan Elizabeth Steele and Jordyn Jacobs were engaged in the competition – and eager to try new things while playing with robots. After all, it’s clear that robots were the king of the camp in the eyes of the students.
“I really liked building the robot and programming it,” said Evan Elizabeth, a rising sixth grader who learned about the camp after seeing a poster for it at Ellis Middle School in Davie County. “It’s just fun to see what happens and how you can succeed at a challenge.”
“Building the robot was my favorite thing,” said Jordyn, a rising sixth grader at South Asheboro Middle School. “It’s really fun to be able to create something out of little pieces and then turn it into something great.”
Students Noah Pearson and Patrick Turner were both interested in learning more about robotics.
“My school had a class on robotics, but all of the slots were filled up, and I really wanted to see what it was like,” said Noah, a student at Valle Crucis School in Boone, who spent the week with his aunt’s family in order to attend the STEM Camp with his cousins. “In the camp, we learned how to build light sensors and put everything together from each class.”
“I got to do so many things at camp,” Patrick said. “I think my favorite part was programming – testing out some of the things and learning how to make the robot work.”
And Benjamin Miller, a rising sixth grader at Ledford Middle School, enjoyed both the LEGOs and technology included in the camp. “I liked building the robot and programming it,” Benjamin said. “It’s exciting to see how fast some of these things can go.”
Causey said while the camps are fun learning experiences, the students are really gaining valuable skills by engaging in hands-on activities.
“These camps truly give students the opportunity to learn the value of STEM skills in their everyday lives,” Causey said. “We live in an economy that is technology driven; therefore, we can only expect STEM-related occupations to grow. As educators, our desire is to help equip a workforce with the skills needed to meet the demands of our economy, and we must begin with K-12 students.”
The STEM Camp was sponsored by PPG Industries and ASCO Power Technologies, which makes the camp more affordable for families looking to get their kids involved in summer learning opportunities.
*Editor’s Note: Pictured in the first photo, from left to right, are Benjamin Miller and Evan Elizabeth Steele preparing for the competition. In the second photo is Jordyn Jacobs building components for the competition. Pictured in the third photo, from left to right, are Noah Pearson and Patrick Turner engaged in the competition. To view more photos and video from the STEM Camp, visit facebook.com/DavidsonCountyCommunityCollege.
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.