J Camps Offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Options
Imagine! You are lost in the woods with little on you and the only way to survive is to use your knowledge of circuitry to invent your own tools. Like a compass, an LED lantern or even a solar oven to cook your food.
Or perhaps you are a budding engineer, intrigued by building structures and machines. How would you design sturdy structures and then create destruction apparatuses to knock them down?
This summer, the JCC’s J Camps will introduce Young Innovators, a new STEM Plus camp in partnership with Krieger Schechter Day School (KSDS). Campers will travel to KSDS to channel their creativity into developing team-based solutions to real-world situations, under the guidance of KSDS science teachers in their new Abramoff MakersSpace.
They then complete their day with traditional camp activities held on KSDS grounds.
“We investigated a number of science curriculums to determine how we could best incorporate math and science in a state-of-the-art setting that would appeal to area campers,” explains Stacy Deems, assistant director of J Camps at the JCC, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
“We’re excited to partner with KSDS for Young Innovators where our campers will run the show, which is something that doesn’t happen often enough in today’s classrooms. The MakersSpace instructors present the authentic question and guide our campers as they come up with and test solutions, learning new skills along the way,” she adds.
Research shows that participation in a summer science program can stimulate greater interest in STEM careers. According to the National Summer Learning Association, when you encourage youngsters to develop projects on their own, based on mutual interests, it promotes important STEM career skills like collaboration and communication.
Young Innovators, one of J Camps new STEM Plus specialty camps, was developed after a successful funding summit organized by The Associated. It follows the success of J Camps’ two end-of-summer STEM programs last year: LEGO Camp and X-treme Science Camp.
Seven-year-old Eli Colòn attended X-treme Science Camp: Space and Rocketry last summer. For one week he learned about the solar system, the physics of outer space, and how to live on the International Space Station. He then designed spaceships, rockets and bouncy balls from scratch.
In fact, according to his mother, Kelly Colòn, he still enjoys flying one of the rockets he designed.
“Eli has always been interested in science and how to make things,” she says. “When he plays with sidewalk chalk, he’ll often make it into dust and mix it with water or soap to see what happens to it.”
Kelly Colòn, who has a background in education, believes that all children are scientists, looking to explore their world and understand why things happen the way they do.
“If you give them the tools to learn about what’s going on, they will find answers,” she says.
For more information, go to jcc.org/camps.
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