The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 2 - Page 19

Never Too Young for a STEM Summer Camp

Rebekah E. Piper

Laurie A. Sharp, Ed.D.

Roberta D. Raymond, Ed.D.

Mary Jo Fresch

Pic.2. Children working on the digital

storytelling project

Why STEM Summer Camps?

Encouraging parents and children to take part in summer camps could be helpful for the following reasons:

1. Being an active part of a STEM summer camp prevents summer learning loss. Even though students may enjoy not being at school for the summer, parents need to assure that they are in some program that provides them a learning opportunity. Setting a pause on the learning program of a student can widen the achievement gap for them (Binns, I. C., Polly, D., Conrad, J., & Algozzine, B 2016).

2. Summer camps promote student engagement in STEM and help develop or refine technological skills.

3. If a child lacks a STEM concept or a skill, summer camp programs can provide an opportunity to catch up and be ready for the next school year. A STEM camp could result in a boost to the test scores of participants and enhance their engagement level in schools.

Pic. 3. An Instructional Coach and a volunteer displaying student work on the day of the award ceremony.

STEM Courses – Need of Today for a Better Tomorrow

The U.S. Department of Education (2014) states that STEM education should be one of the prime focuses of our schools today. The future job pipeline has a huge demand for people with STEM backgrounds, both nationally and internationally. It is never too soon, and students are never too young to start on STEM activities. All age levels should be well trained and equipped with the knowledge and the education that is required to be an expert in STEM content and related careers (www.ed.gov/stem). Meanwhile, an out-of-school school learning environment is less structured that offers elementary students to make meaningful connections to STEM content areas (Simpkins and Oliver, 1990; Nugent, G., Barker, B., Welch, Grandgenett, Wu, Nelson, 2015). Additionally, parental associations at a native stage impact a child’s academic journey positively (Byrnes & Miller, 2007).

Pic.4. Students working on the coding software by Scratch

Conclusion

Science and mathematics teachers should encourage students and parents to investigate STEM summer camps, tell them to Google “STEM summer camps for elementary students near you.” They will find plenty of possibilities. If parents are concerned about academic quality, they will see that many colleges and universities all around the nation offer STEM summer camps for children.

It was a bit sad to say goodbye to the campers at the STEM summer camp, but with a hope to see many of them again next summer. Supporting youngsters on STEM activities is one of the most rewarding things we can do as an educator.

Pic .5. Students showcasing their work

Appendix follows on the next page

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