Texas Tech Child Development Research Center Offers STEAM Camp for School-Aged Children
STEAM campers plan, explore, and challenge their thought process in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
by Katie Main
This summer, the Child Development Research Center (CDRC) hosted STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) Camp. The camp was planned to provide enriching experiences for school-aged children to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Senior Toddler Teacher, Patty Vierling, and Senior Preschool Teachers, Michelle Herren and Tandra Johnson, planned and taught STEAM Camp. They have a combined total of over 25 years teaching experience and are certified to teach early childhood through grade 4.
Patty said the camp consisted of time outdoors, team-building exercises, teacher-led STEAM challenges, and creative stations. She said these stations allowed the students to plan, explore, and challenge their thought process in the STEAM fields in a fun and interactive way.
"We really wanted to give the students the opportunity to be engaged in activities that fostered active learning."
Components of active learning include materials that are open-ended, appealing to the senses, and diverse, manipulation using a "minds" on and "hands" on approach, choice, child language and thought, and adult scaffolding.
Active learning is derived from the High/Scope curriculum used at the Child Development Research Center. During the teachers' self-evaluations, Patty and her team were able to discover areas that they needed to strengthen, such as adding more technology.
Patty said the center conducted a survey for both the parents and the children. Overall, there was great feedback.
"We were excited about the success of the camp and look forward to the future of the camp."
In years to come, Patty hopes to invite more students from the College of Education, as well as any faculty interested in being a part of the STEAM program.
This year's STEAM camp ranged from ages 5-11, but Patty said she is interested in exploring other options in the future.
Patty said it was very rewarding to witness the students' natural curiosity and discovery come to light through open-ended and creative exploration.