RTSD STEAM in the Summer Takes Camp to a Whole New Level
August 18, 2019
Story/Photos: Miles Brown
RTSD "STEAM in the Summer" Takes Camp to a Whole New Level
For many kids, the idea of being in a school over the summer might not be the most appealing. However, "STEAM in the Summer" camp has Radnor Township School District students excited to learn and try new things, even if it means revisiting a school over the summer months.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) in the Summer is an interactive camp for rising RTSD 3rd through 8th graders. Two week-long sessions are offered in July, each with a morning and an afternoon block. This year, 133 students attended the camp, and a quarter of them participated in both weeks. By incorporating aspects of STEAM in their daily activities, the camp provides students with exciting hands-on opportunities to learn, create, and play while furthering their interest in 21st century STEAM fields.
During one session, the rising 3rd through 5th graders participated in various engineering and design activities that focused on enhancing the student’s problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The teachers incoorporated challenges that consisted of creating a zipline with just five feet of string; building a table out of newspaper; constructing a tool that is able to pick up objects; and making a marshmallow slingshot that they eventually got to test out. The challenges were difficult at times and the students had to utilize their problem-solving skills in order to succeed.
“I enjoyed doing the design challenges ahead of time so I was prepared to anticipate some of the challenges that the kids experienced,” Wayne Elementary School teacher Rick Goldstein, one of the four RTSD teachers who ran the program, said.
In addition to the design challenges, the children learned how to program Ozobots and build things using snap circuits. Through designing, developing, testing, and troubleshooting, the students experienced the process used in present STEAM-related jobs.
The rising 6th through 8th graders’s time at camp consisted of working with a small group to design and create their own board games, which focused on the technology aspect of STEAM. The students had the first three days to come up with an idea and create a game using a 3D printer, and the last day of camp was dedicated to playing each other's games.
Each game was unique. One was a twist on LIFE and Harry Potter, while another was a form of Truth or Dare. The students also were able to build hot air balloons and launch them outside. The projects allowed the students to experiment with technology while showcasing their creativity and gave them the opportunity to take an idea in their minds and create it with their hands.
In the end, being back in school wasn't so bad. In addition to giving the students an alternative to relaxing and watching TV, the camp engaged them in all aspects of STEAM, which may even prepare them for careers in these fields later in life.
“I truly loved this experience," Goldstein said.
Miles Brown is a member of the RHS Class of 2020 and a 2019 RTSD Communications Office Student Intern