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Summer learning: STEAM Camp gives students extra lessons in science, math and other subjects

June 7, 2019 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — Who says learning has to end in May?

With school out, more than 80 students trekked to two Bullhead City schools this week for bonus learning, with hands-on activities in areas such as robotics, engineering and computer coding.

The experiences came via the Bullhead City Elementary School District’s STEAM Camp program.

At Fox Creek Junior High, science teachers Jamie McCune and Frances Martin talked about how students studied animal behavior and used what they learned to create eco-friendly clothing, cinch packs and household products.

For example, the students, entering grades six, seven and eight, studied natural camouflage in the animal world and used what they saw to inspire their own camouflage designs, which went on their cinch sacks (it’s like a backpack that closes with a drawstring).

They also built butterfly houses, taking inspiration from what the insects find attractive to design the

exteriors in a way likely to draw butterflies.

Students took the butterfly houses home to place in their own yards and gardens, McCune said.

They also designed buildings based on animals’ shelters in nature, with the goal of creating something that could withstand water, wind and other weather.

Other sessions at Fox Creek covered computer-aided design and robotics. Teacher Kenneth Weiss said that in the former, students designed phone cases, rings and other items and used a 3-D printer to produce them.

In robotics, Weiss said, students designed and built robots, then had a competition to see which creation was best at moving blocks.

Sounds of the students urging their creations on reached the school office, staffers said.

At Diamondback Elementary School, students entering grades two, three and four, worked on coding, supervised by fourth-grade teacher Debbie Kane.

Kane recently helped the group use code to design a card game. They also worked away from their laptops, using Popsicle sticks and straws to build bridges of various sizes and shapes.

Abrian Perez, who will be in fourth grade at Sunrise Elementary, said he enjoyed both parts of the camp. Abrian said he asked to come for the extra instruction.

Fourth-grade teacher Deann Osuna set up the STEAM (science, technology engineering, art and math) camp at Diamondback. She said the 55 or so kids there also studied topics that included drama and the life cycle of a butterfly.

Each site also hosted a sports camp. They included soccer and pickleball at Fox Creek and volleyball and football at Diamondback.

“All the kids were very engaged and had a lot of fun,” Osuna said. “A good group of kids turned out.”