STEM camps occupy kids’ minds in summer SanTan Sun News

STEM camps occupy kids’ minds in summer

STEM camps occupy kids’ minds in summer
Family Fun
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By COLLEEN SPARKS

Contributor

Children and teens can stay cool indoors while they build robots, design video games, make movies, create instruments and write code in unusual classes and day camps in Chandler this summer.

Various businesses offer activities focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects designed to help kids stay fresh academically and explore fun lessons that could someday help them in careers.

All Around Math Learning Center offers many STEM-focused summer day camps for children ages 8 to 14 this month at Gravity Extreme Zone Trampoline and Adventure Park at 190 S. Kyrene Road, No. 5 in Chandler.

“Everything has a STEM focus,” Kate Rozsa, a math professor and owner of All Around Math Learning Center, said. “I think that’s kind of the future with all the technology. They need to make connections, apply math; apply their engineering skills. The teachers are amazing. We’ve been doing this a number of years.”

One of the popular summer day camps at All Around Math Learning Center is the My First Robotics camp for youths ages 6 to 8. It gives little ones an introduction to robotics using the Lego WeDo construction sets from 9 a.m. to noon July 8-12.

Another popular day camp at All Around Math Learning Center is My First STEM camp, also for 6 to 8-year-olds, from 9 a.m. to noon July 8-12. The customized curriculum has been designed to help students learn from the attractions in the Gravity Extreme Zone Trampoline and Adventure Park.

For example, students make robots and then set them up to move on a balance beam. They explore physics, math, engineering and biology while doing bungee jumping, as well as jumping on trampolines, navigating zip lines and climbing rock walls. The children will learn about air resistance, friction, speed, acceleration, energy and human anatomy as they explore the equipment in the adventure park.

Youngsters ages 6 to 8 can let their imaginations run wild in the My First Computer Game Design camp from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. July 8-12 and from 9 a.m. to noon July 15-19 at Gravity Extreme Zone.

They will learn a simple visual computer language called Kodu to make, edit and play a computer game. The kids will create landscapes, move around different terrain, add characters and take other actions they can show off later to their parents.

Campers are usually eager to reveal race tracks they design and program and they will learn mathematical concepts including rotation, elevation and zooming. Children get an introduction to programming and designing a computer game in the camp.

Older kids can also have fun tackling STEM subjects through All Around Math Learning Center’s summer camps. In one such popular camp, Game of Drones, youths ages 8-14, become drone engineers and pilots.

They use construction skills to navigate drones through challenge courses and compete with other drones for the best challenge course designs, piloting ability and problem-solving skills. The next such camp is from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. July 8-12 at Gravity Extreme Zone in Chandler.

“They do all kinds of engineering but they also fly the drones,” Rozsa said. “They create the landing space and fly the drones and compete with drones. That’s a really fun one.”

Youths 8 to 14 can also build robots in the Robotics I, II and III day camps from 9 a.m. to noon July 15-19 at Gravity Extreme Zone.

Budding robot designers are placed in small groups according to their ages and abilities in Robotics I and they are taught about building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots that can follow sound commands, talk and lift objects, among other human-like capabilities.

Students will learn the basics of programming robots once they’ve been created.

In Robotics II, youths will build more advanced robots with the emphasis more on learning the programming language. These robots will be tested in challenge courses and troubleshooting skills will be integrated into the camp daily.

Children and teens who have previously participated in All Around Math Learning’s Robotics Summer I Camp or taken part in its After School Robot Club are eligible to take the Robotics II day camp.

The Robotics III day camp is ideal for students who want to train for the FIRST LEGO League competition or those who want to join the All Around Math Learning Center’s third week of robotics.

Participants design and build robots to adhere to competition requirements. This camp is where all the building, programming and designing skills reach an advanced level. Children and teens in the camp will engage in critical thinking skills and teamwork as they do challenging, hands-on activities.

In all the summer day camps, All Around Math Learning Center is offering students have a chance to play and run around on the equipment in Gravity Extreme Zone when they take breaks from doing the computer and STEM activities.

Typically about 8 to 12 students participate in each camp. Students can sign up for the day camps one week at a time or a month at a time or the whole summer.

“Parents, they love it,” Rozsa said.

For prices and more information on All Around Math Learning Center’s summer camps visit allaroundmath.com.

Many of the campers return year after year for the programs.

All Around Math Learning Center is a full-service learning business that offers tutoring for youths and adults year-round. The business, which offers tutoring and other programs except for the summer caps at 7571 S. Willow Drive in Tempe, works with high school students preparing to take Advanced Placement (AP) tests, as well as students trying to get into Ivy League universities.

Students are tutored mostly in math but also in English, science and other topics. Rozsa also works with gifted children and homeschooled students in the one-on-one tutoring.

“We work with a lot of different learning styles and needs,” she said.

All Around Math Learning Center also provides STEM classes including in robotics and computer design as part of the regular academic day and after-school in various schools. Information: allaroundmath.com

Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro also provides summer day camps with STEM activities in Chandler, Ahwatukee and other parts of the Valley.

Upcoming camps in Chandler will take place July 8-12 and then July 15-19 and then July 22-26 at Vector Prep & Arts Academy at 2020 N. Arizona Ave., No. 5.

The “Juniors” camp for children ages 4 to 7 will focus on the theme “Musical Adventures with Scratch and Makey” in the mornings of July 8-12 at Vector Prep & Arts Academy. The morning session runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

With the musical adventures, children will make instruments and then play them using software they code, Lan Hoagland, co-owner of Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro said.

She and her husband, Ron Hoagland, own the Valley franchise, part of a global operation that offers classes, camps and programs to help children explore engineering.

The afternoon session for “Juniors” July 8-12 will take children on a journey through “Magic Beans: Fairy Tale” from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Children will build Lego creations following the theme of different fairytales including “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Youths ages 8 to 14 years old can sign up for the “Apprentice” camp at Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro July 8-12 at Vector Prep & Arts Academy.

In the morning, the theme is “Creative Storytelling through Game Design,” where students will design video games using blocks to create their own characters. They will take pictures and impose them into their video games and then play the games.

In the afternoon session July 8-12, the “Apprentice” youths will take part in the “LEGO EV3 Robotics: Olympiad” program, where they will build robots from scratch. Students will work on different teams and program them to move and complete different challenges in the afternoon camp.

In the July 15-19 Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro camp at Vector Prep & Arts Academy, the topic for the morning session for “Juniors” ages 4 to 7 is “Jr. Scratch Coding: Space Pioneers” and the afternoon theme will be “LEGO Robotics: StarCAMP.”

The children will do introductory, Scratch coding, which is a block-based visual programming language and online community geared mostly towards children.

They will make characters and atmospheres and program them to do certain things in the morning. In the afternoon session, the “Juniors” will explore an outer space motif by making “satellites” and other “large rovers” using LEGO robotics in these mechanical engineering lessons, Lan said.

The “Apprentice” students ages 8 to 14 will explore “Drones: Hovercraft & Aviation” in the morning and “Cinematography: What’s News With You” in the afternoon camp July 15-19 at Vector Prep & Arts Academy.

In the morning, the campers will build drones and program them to move through various obstacles and challenges, learning safety and flight operation, as well as coding.

In the afternoon they will make movies, with the theme of “news,” including broadcasting, interviews and productions. They could pretend to be meteorologists and afterwards will share their movies.

Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro will also have summer day camp at Vector Prep & Arts Academy July 22-26. The morning theme for the “Juniors” is “Famous Architecture with Virtual Reality” and in the afternoon that group will do a “Build Your Own Bot with Cubelets” curriculum.

Children will use bricks to build smaller versions of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or other famous structures and then use Virtual Reality goggles to “visit” monuments visually.

The students in the afternoon will create their own code and build bots in modular robotics lessons. They will be able to make them spin and move forward and backward.

Students ages 8 to 14 in the “Apprentice” program can participate in the “Against the Elements: Survivor Camp” in the morning and “Virtual Reality Game Design” in the afternoon July 22-26 in the Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro day camps at Vector Prep & Arts Academy.

In the survivor camp, kids will be tasked with tying knots, doing scavenger hunts and engaging in water purification, among other activities they would have to do to survive.

The youths in the “Apprentice” level of the day camp will create and program their own Virtual Reality games and then get transported through their game in 3-D while wearing VR goggles.

The Engineering for Kids of Phoenix Metro has held the summer camps for six years but this is the first year it is being offered at Vector Prep.

“It definitely has a lot of space and a lot of potential,” Lan said.

She said she expects about 3,500 children will participate in all the company’s summer day camps.

“They definitely love our camp because they get to do things they don’t get to do at a traditional school,” Lan said. “It definitely enhances their learning and gets them prepared when they do come back from summer to get more engaged.”

Summer camp prices for Engineering For Kids of Phoenix Metro start at $175 per week for the half-day program and $250 a week for full-day sessions.

Extended care is available until 6 p.m. for $65 per week. Information: engineeringforkids.com/phoenix-metro

Nerding, L.L.C. also offers many STEM-focused classes this summer in Chandler. Classes are held at Desert Sun Child Development Center at 1512 W. Elliot Road. Room is still available in many classes this month at the business.

Nerding’s founder, Niecy Westmoreland is a certified K-8 grade teacher, who taught in the Kyrene School District for many years. Westmoreland and Micah Beverly, a longtime musician who taught guitar lessons, are the Nerding co-owners.

“We only hire certified teachers,” Beverly said. “It’s really important to us that the person that is teaching the class is a teacher first. Our philosophy here is to prepare kids for 21st century skills and STEM. Our second mission is to support teachers. We pay really well. Every single one of our teachers is a teacher during the (academic) year at a school.”

One popular class, 3D Printing has space left in two sessions this month, from 1 to 4 p.m. July 8-12 and from 9 a.m. to noon July 15-19.

The classes are for children who will be going into grades fourth through seventh in the fall. Students will learn about the history of 3D printing, design their own 3D prints and learn how it is effective in the prosthetics industry as well as for construction of homes and in space.

Children will learn the math and spatial reasoning needed to find their way around the 3D design environment.

Another well-liked class at Nerding is Wizard Science, which is also for children going into grades fourth through seventh in the fall. The next Wizard Science class will be held from 9 a.m. to noon July 8-12.

Youths will experiment with chemical reactions in transfiguration, static electricity, acids and bases. They will make “fun potions” in the class that has a “Harry Potter” theme. Students can dress up in wizard robes, make a wand and make invisible ink.

Filmmaking is another fun class at Nerding, where youths heading into grades fourth through seventh will study film clips, storyboard movies and plan and execute shots. They will use the iMovie program to edit their own footage to create movie trailers and short films.

The students will also explore video making techniques and special effects and use a giant green screen to shoot things “on location.” The filmmaking class will next be held from 1 to 4 p.m. July 8-12.

Children can play sleuth and work in teams as they solve mysteries in the Escape Room: World Wonders classes at Nerding.

The next such class will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. July 8-12 and the one after that will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. July 15-19.

In this class, youths who will be going into grades fourth through seventh crack codes and solve puzzles as they learn about exotic places and ancient civilizations around the world in order to access a box with gems and other interesting items inside it. The kids will use logic and work as teams.

Another fun and popular class at Nerding is Graphic Design and the next one will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. July 15-19 for kids going into grades fourth through seventh. Youths will learn basic graphic design principles and design their own T-shirts and stickers.

They will get lessons in how to use 2D design software to make their own vector images and send the images to a vinyl cutter to make their own custom stickers and T-shirt designs. The students will use a heat press to apply their designs to their T-shirts and can take those and the stickers home.

“Fonts and type faces are actually very interesting and they affect our lives more than we think,” Beverly said.

Younger children also have lots of classes to choose from at Nerding. In the Secrets of Slime class, kids going into grades second and third will learn about states of matter, polymers and linking molecule chains while they make different kinds of slime.

They can see if their slime will be fluffy, stretchy or tasty. The next Secrets of Slime class will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. July 8-12 and another one will be occurring from 9 a.m. to noon July 15-19.

Children who will be starting second and third grades in the fall can also take a Space Explorers class at Nerding from 1 to 4 p.m. July 8-12 and then from 1 to 4 p.m. July 15-19. In that class, youngsters learn about the solar system, including history and recent discoveries.

They will also experiment with forces that shape the universe and build and test squeeze rockets, make comets and touch real meteorites.

“They take a lot of stuff home,” Beverly said. “We pack a lot in. We also try to make sure that we’re very educational and fun. Hopefully it’s building a little excitement about something.”

Information: nerding.org

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