IT Students Enjoy a STEAMy Summer!
Interest in STEAM is at an all-time high in the Island Trees School District, with 80 students in grades 3-8 attending a week-long camp on August 15th-19th at Island Trees Memorial Middle School. Mr. Jim Conklin, our district's instructional technology staff developer, was the driving force behind the camp's success, planning with his STEAM team a range of engaging activities.
Ms. Danielle Hastings, Mr. Jeremy Groneman, and Ms. Danielle Medellin enthusiastically joined Mr. Conklin as STEAM Camp teachers, providing expert, hands-on guidance to our motivated students. Eager to inspire their younger counterparts, our incredible high school students also stepped up as volunteers to assist!
Throughout the week, students experienced an array of STEAM activities designed to promote critical thinking, collaboration, creative problem solving, and hands-on, fun learning! As students rotated through stations, they had the opportunity to immerse themselves in STEAM learning:
● The littleBits center invited students to snap together electronic modules to create light dimmers, buzzers, fans, and much more.
● Code.org activities challenged students to complete the levels in a Star Wars coding activity, Make a Flappy Game, and complete as many levels as possible in Lightbot.
● Following the sequence of steps on the Chromebook app and utilizing Lego WeDo kits, students created Milo the Rover, race cars, helicopters, and pulling vehicles, programming their creations to move, make noise, and light up.
● Utilizing Lego Simple Machines, students created a free-wheeling vehicle, then measured the distance it rolled down a ramp without a weighted brick. After, they compared the distances and discussed why they changed with the weighted brick.
● The Kapla blocks center challenged students to create a 10 cm tower with only 6 wooden planks and to build a wooden plank bridge to span a gap of 12 inches, for example.
● The cups, cubes, and craft sticks center included challenges for the students to balance cups on various cubes and craft sticks and create a catapult.
● Dash the Robot was a big hit! The students used the iPad to program Dash to move and make sounds by using the block coding method that they had practiced on Code.org.
● Students created their own video games on Code Academy.
● Lego Mindstorms allowed students the opportunity to build and program their own robots.
● Students collaborated on several engineering challenges, including the egg drop challenge and the spaghetti/marshmallow tower.
● In addition to touring the robotics room and meeting the team's robot, students had the opportunity to utilize the zSpace lab.
If the goal of the week was to inspire students, then the mission was most certainly accomplished. The culmination of the week's activities was a birds-eye view of how our high school Robotics team operates their robot. As all of the campers, their high school volunteers, and their teachers gathered in the gym, any observer would notice the excitement as students saw a glimpse of their future. With our new STEAM Club at Stokes, our new 5th and 6th grade STEAM club at ITMMS, and many other progressive moves to create a bridge of opportunity from elementary to middle to high school, Island Trees is FULL STEAM AHEAD!
Submitted by Elizabeth Roemer, Administrator for Educational Programs, Literacy, and Staff Development