Having a Blast: Kids Launch Rockets at HPU STEM Camp Finale

STEM Camp

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 28, 2018 – According to 9-year-old Madison Lewis, the key to a successful rocket launch is keeping an eye on the shuttle after it blasts off. That makes it easier to track down once it lands.

“I told my mom, ‘I don’t care if I have to bring my rocket home in two, three or even four pieces; I’m going to get my rocket back after it explodes off the launch pad,’” Lewis said.

After two weeks of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Camp, hosted by High Point University’s Stout School of Education, children lined up for a chance to launch their rockets in front of their families – the highlight of the camp’s final day.

Lewis, a rising fourth grader at Wesleyan Christian Academy, watched as her rocket soared over and into the stands of HPU’s Cottrell Amphitheatre.

“My favorite part was watching it go way over my mom’s head,” said Lewis. “I was shouting at her the whole time and pointing to let her know which one was mine.”

Lewis was one of more than 120 community children who took part in HPU’s fourth consecutive STEM Camp. The camp, led by HPU faculty and students, introduces children to STEM concepts through various experiments each day.

As they waited to take their place at the launch pad, new friends Jayden McDougal, a rising fourth grader at Florence Elementary, and Ridge Hiatt, an 8-year-old student at Johnson Street Elementary, talked about their favorite parts of the 10-day camp.

“We got to do an egg drop, and mine was terrible, but his was great,” said McDougal pointing to Hiatt. “We didn’t know each other before camp started, but we met during team activities when his egg did the best.”

“My egg drop really was a big success,” said Hiatt. “I also liked the day where we made slime, and now I’m waiting to see how high my rocket goes. I want it to go as high as the top of Cottrell Hall, but not to where it gets stuck on the roof – I want to make sure I keep it.”

Parents looked on and cheered for their children from the stands. Wendy Curty watched as her 11-year-old son, Connor, pressed the control button that sent his rocket flying.   

“This is Connor’s fourth year coming to STEM Camp and he absolutely loves it,” said Wendy Curty. “It exposes him to so many opportunities he wouldn’t have otherwise, and he looks forward to coming back every year. The rocket launch is definitely his favorite part. There was a time when he used to tell me that he didn’t like science, but this has shown him a different side of it. They visited the HPU pharmacy and physician assistant labs earlier this week, and I could tell that getting to see those facilities had a big influence on him.”

The final day of camp also included a chemistry and physics show put on by a “Mad Scientist” and rocket pops from the HPU ice cream truck to celebrate the launch.

“It has been a busy week with this many participants, but seeing them all get to this point makes it 100 percent worth it,” said Rebecca Supor, one of the HPU graduate students who helped plan and lead the camp. “There are veteran participants who come back every year, so we’re always trying to brainstorm new activities to keep it fresh and exciting for them. This year’s group has been amazing to work with and so many have told me they can’t wait to come back.”

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