Blast Off: Rocket Launch Concludes First-Ever STEM Camp

HIGH POINT, N.C., July 2, 2015 – Fifty-three children from the community participated in Lego fun at High Point University’s first-ever STEM camp, hosted by HPU faculty and graduate students in the School of Education. The camp began on June 22 and concluded with a rocket launch finale today where each STEM Camp student made their own rocket and launched it.

It provided students with experiential learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the use of Lego Bricks and other science materials.

“The STEM Camp allowed students to be actively engaged in topics like aeronautics, forensics, chemistry and engineering through creative activity. It also gave them the opportunity to use collaboration, communication and critical thinking while building a sense of community among learners – all important skills for students to master,” says Dr. Shirley Disseler, assistant professor of education at HPU, who organized the event.

“I have really enjoyed being at HPU for the STEM Camp because I am learning a lot and having fun in the process,” says STEM Camp student Cooper Phillips. “At my school, we have never used Legos or robotics. It is an interesting and new way of learning.”

After the morning rocket launch, the HPU ice cream truck offered rocket pops to the children to celebrate the completion of the camp. A “Mad Scientist,” from madscience.org performed chemistry and physics experiments as well.

“I had a mother tell me how grateful she was that HPU put together this camp and the huge impact it has had on her child,” says Disseler. “Her daughter would get up every morning and want to come to the STEM camp. She would come home learning something new every day in a fun and interesting way.”

“I had a lot of fun at STEM Camp because all of the projects were hands-on,” says STEM Camp student Kristina Oberlin. “It really helped our brains, because during the summer we don’t study. This helped us get ready for the next school year while having fun.”

HPU hosts Lego field trips for local schoolchildren throughout the year. The university also holds community Lego days as well as Lego teacher academies. During these events, thousands of children, teachers and community members visit campus for a hands-on, fun experience that promotes teamwork, creativity and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The events also help undergraduate and graduate students in the HPU School of Education gain valuable experience and feedback in teaching techniques and classroom management.

“These children were such a joy to teach and work with every day,” says Ali Smiley, HPU graduate student. “I think they took a lot from this STEM Camp, and it will be great for HPU to continue to host in the coming years.”

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