“STEAM” powered: 95 students challenge skills and intellect at NICC Waukon summer camp


Coding ... STEAM camp students learned how to code a robot (at far left in photo) to make it follow steps and maneuver around obstacles, as pictured above. The STEAM camp was held June 5-7 at the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Waukon Center. Submitted photo.

Strawbees ... STEAM camp students learned how to code a motor and adjust how fast it went. The STEAM camp was held June 5-7 at the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Waukon Center. Submitted photo.

The future is clearly here for 95 students that attended the 4th Annual STEAM summer camp at the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) - Waukon Center in early June.

From June 5-7, the nearly 100 students going into Pre-K through seventh grades attended the day camps and participated in a variety of activities. The STEAM camp - STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math - included sessions on coding challenges, virtual and augmented reality experiences, robotics, engineering and circuit-building.

Students learned how to code a robot to make it follow steps and maneuver around obstacles, coloring a 2D image and making it come to life through augmented reality, and drawing, designing and building creatures and structures. Other activities tested the young learners’ skills in building straw towers to support a weight and making a marble run where the goal was to have the marble move as slow as possible.

“Engaging students at a young age in activities that get them to create, build and think outside-the-box supports skill development needed in the 21st century. When they are creating and building, they work together and sharpen their ability to communicate and problem solve,” explained Kathy Hay, STEAM Camp instructor. “They see how mistakes help them learn and make their work better. All of the age groups had sessions in engineering; from building a home for a creature, building a straw tower to hold a tennis ball or building a run for a marble to descend four feet at the slowest rate. Another session was creating code to design an art project, tell a story or power a robot. Technology and math were a part of all of the sessions as well. Margaret Mead once said that, ‘Children must be taught how to think, not what to think,’  and that is what STEAM is all about.”

Students were engaged in hands-on learning, experimentation and pushed to use their creativity, according to Erica Nosbisch, NICC Waukon Center director. “It’s very important for Northeast Iowa Community College to offer educational summer programming in Allamakee County. Camp activities helped students develop problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills. As educators, we know that inspiring and nurturing our students’ interest in STEAM fields is important because professions in these career pathways provide stable, family-sustaining wages and meaningful learning experiences,” Nosbisch said.

Camp sponsors include Allamakee Community Connections, Allamakee County Community Foundation, Allamakee County Economic Development & Tourism, Iowa State University & Outreach, Keystone AEA and Northeast Iowa Community College. For more information on services offered through the NICC Waukon Center, visit www.nicc.edu/waukon or contact Nosbisch at 563-568-3060.
 

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