All STEAMed up
Barkley Bridge Elementary holds second-annual STEAM camp
Barkley Bridge Elementary held its second-annual STEAM Accelerator Academy: Innovation Station June 12-14. The camp was open for students from all schools, from rising kindergartners through students who just completed fourth grade, and focused on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
The camp comes in the wake of Barkley Bridge announcing its STEM certification status in April. According to Jamie Dutton, a camp facilitator, the academy provides students with an opportunity to create their own STEM-centered learning challenges.
“It helps the students, and they help each other because everything is collaborative,” Dutton explained. “It is a different opportunity than in school: You don’t always get to learn slip and slide science in the classroom.”
The academy takes STEM lessons that are taught throughout the school year and teaches them in fun and engaging challenges. Students learned about friction while studying slip and slides, for example, and were challenged to build devices to carry a beach ball for a certain distance with specific dimensions to follow.
“It gives students the opportunity to have expanded summer activities and helps prevent summer slide. When students are not learning in the summer there is regression; this helps to prevent that,” Dutton said.
Students are also able to continue learning throughout the rest of summer,” Dutton added. “Participants take home activities that they can do the rest of the summer. This way it is not just a three-day camp; it is a camp to learn throughout the summer.”
The camp aims to make students more prepared to enter the workforce once they graduate by teaching STEAM and soft skills early and in engaging ways, Dutton said.
Dutton also said the academy serves as a way for students to learn real-life problem-solving skills. After a project was completed, the students were asked to examine their work and determine whether or not they were successful.
“Honestly, one of my favorite parts is when the students fail because it is so important for them to learn about failure and about mistakes,” Dutton said. “They learn how to examine them and how to fix them, and it is just a wonderful experience.”
She also said she enjoyed getting to know the students better. “You are able to build relationships with students,” she said. “Afterward, I know more about how they learn and more about their personalities, so I am able to use that when school starts back.”