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Engineering Camp: We Have Lift-off

Engineering Camp

August 5, 2008

The Texas Tech University T-STEM Center held the first Engineering Camp on Monday, July 28th through Friday, August 1st.

Engineering Camp took place in the United Spirit Arena City Bank Conference Rooms and at Urbanovsky Park. Forty-nine campers, ages 14-18, participated in a variety of STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - activities throughout the week. Activities included: designing and building high-flying rockets, guest speakers, the Star Party located at the Moody Planetarium and Family Day at Urbanovsky Park.

Each day, students learned a new step in the design process enabling them to engineer more efficient rockets. Using rocket simulation computer programs, calculators and physics concepts, students learned better methods for making their rockets reach higher distances and land without being destroyed.

Greg Burnham, a physics and engineering instructor at Estacado High School and engineering camp instructor, described the campers' learning experience. "The kids incorporated concepts they learned each day making their rockets more stable, bigger and faster," said Burnham. "The kids were having so much fun they didn't know we snuck-in teaching concepts like algebra and physics."

The highlight of the week was Family Day, where students were challenged to launch a rocket containing an egg to 500 feet. The goal of the challenge was not only to have the rockets reach 500 feet, but land safely enough so the egg inside wouldn't break. Family, friends and the media watched as campers showcased and launched these home-made rockets on Family Day.

"I walked away from the camp with the feeling that most, if not all, of the kids were very glad they came," said Assistant Professor of Midland College and Engineering Camp Instructor Lynn Bryant. "They learned practical things that will encourage them toward a deeper interest in science, technology, engineering and math - and that's always a good thing!"

Engineering Camp, a $123,000 initiative funded by the Texas Workforce Commission, is aimed to motivate students to pursue STEM education and careers. The initiative hopes its' efforts will better prepare Texas' future workforce for STEM related jobs of the future.

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Program Sponsor

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas. TWC strengthens the Texas economy by providing the workforce development component of the Governor's economic development strategy. Texas boasts an incredibly skilled workforce ready to attract enterprise to the Lone Star State. By focusing on the needs of employers, TWC gives Texas the competitive edge necessary to draw business here.

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