STEM Camp Returns To MO For Scientific Discovery
By Chelsea Opong-Wadeer
In its second year, kids throughout the township took an adventure this summer but didn’t have to travel too far to launch a rocket, design a robot and even build an engine.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Camp was held at the Mt. Olive Middle School during the weeks of July 27-July 31, and Aug. 3-Aug. 7. Participants were in grades first through eight.
The STEM Camp is a nationally regarded movement working to fill young minds with new ideas of how cool all these devices can be.
According to stemedcoalition.org, “The central mission of the STEM Education Coalition is to inform federal and state policymakers on the critical role that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education plays in U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity.”
Last year, 400 kids participated and even more had been expected to sign up this year.
STEM Supervisor Valarie Moore and her team have created a fun-filled week of classes for the kids to attend everyday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In her first year experience last year, Moore described it as an “adventure.”
“I found myself taking something I didn’t know how to do to create a camp with transportation, good food and a great staff,” she said. “It was definitely an adventure and I learned a lot.”
After Superintendent Larrie Reynolds had heard of the idea, he brought it to the Mt. Olive Board of Education and the process to create a STEM Camp in Mt. Olive began. Moore explained how taking on the role as a supervisor for a brand new camp, she was surprised with the turn out.
“We had only really expected 100 kids to sign up last year,” she said. “But with 400 who did sign up we were all very happily surprised.”
Similar to the previous year, the goal of the camp is so the kids can learn more about the sciences and learn what sciences they can possibly take on in the future. Some of the activities the kids could participate in included robotics, engineering and rocket science.
Richard Hymson, volunteer teacher, took pride in his teaching at the camp. Hymson has worked with the kids to discover how engines work and how to build their own. To his surprise all of the kids used their heads to build their own mini V8 engine using geometry techniques and all kinds of other mathematical ideas.
“On the box,” Hymson said, “it said the engine could only be built by kids 14 years of age and older and completed in about two days, but these kids are in grades sixth, seventh, and eighth grade and they completed it in the first six hours.”
For Mt. Olive High School (MOHS) teacher Tom Grossi, he loved getting to interact with the kids.
“I’ve been working with the kids on building robots,” he said. “And it’s been cool getting to watch them work together.”
Grossi is also a supervisor for MOHS Robotics team as well, therefore, working with robots even over the summer was fun for him.
Recent class of 2014 graduate, Scott Gong, also volunteered his time this summer to work with kids and launch water rockets with eggs attached to them out by the baseball field with the kids.
“I’ve always really liked teaching,” he said. “And I’m also hoping to go into a career in engineering so being able to do this will hopefully, put me on the right path.”
The STEM camp was $250 per session, which included lunch and free transportation for any Mt. Olive residents. For more information about the camp, check out its website at www.mtoliveboe.org/summercamp.