A Fantastic Thursday!

After a rainy morning, we really enjoyed the cooler weather and another fabulous hands on STEM day. I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of camp and that will close out our month of STEM camps on campus. It’s always sad to come back the next week to the quiet halls of the buildings.

The red and blue groups spent the day with Dr. Haley Bergstrom and her team learning about fitness, human performance, and how we can use STEM to explore, investigate and learn more about the body. The students learned to take the pulse and conducted an investigation about how pulse can change with physical activity. In robotics, the theme was Things that Move. They had the choice to build a race car, lunar bot, pull bot, trash or recycle truck, street sweeper, etc. They had a lot of fun and were very creative in what they built and added to their robot! They even had some races going.

In the yellow and green groups, they got to learn about labs on a chip and conduct some investigations. They looked at the properties of different types of liquids and the pros and cons of each. They used microscopes to make observations about the properties. They even learned how to make fake blood! The orange and pink groups spent the day with Dr. Walcott and his team for some electrical engineering. They took tours of the engineering complex at UK and got to see a lot of the research laboratories and here about some of the investigations going on. They learned how to build a computer and built their own computer with arduinos. They had a lot of fun testing them out to see if their wiring worked! In robotics, they dove into the First Lego League Challenge – Trash Trek. Many were trying to move pieces from one place to another and to pick up objects and move them. This takes precision and patience to code and they did a fantastic job with it!

ChemCamp had another great day in the lab! They spent part of the day with Dr. Kenneth Graham. They dove deep into the chemistry of solar cells and how we can use natural resources to create solar cells, especially ones that are flexible. They also completed some investigations on polymer efficiency.

In Their Own Words…

  • that some bloob from your heart goes to your lungs and then your body.
  • That old people have mor blood than children.
  • I want to learn more about heart parts.
  • I learned what a micro fluidic mixer chip is and what it does
  • How fake blood is made
  • I learned how to build a compute.
  • I learned that 10 fingers could actually be 1024 different combinations.
  • The difference between analog and digital computers

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do you take your pulse? Why is it important to take your pulse?
  • What happened to your pulse after you ran around outside?
  • How did you create a model of the lung and diaphragm?
  • How do the lung, heart and diaphragm work together?
  • What did you build with your robot today? How did you make it move?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What is a lab on a chip?
  • What did you observe under the microscope?
  • How do you make fake blood? What do we use it for?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today? What are you hoping to achieve or complete tomorrow?

Pink/Orange Groups

  • How do you build a computer?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned on the tour today?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today? What are you hoping to achieve or complete tomorrow?


  • How do you make a solar cell?
  • What kind of materials are good conductors?
  • What would we use a flexible TV for?
  • Why would flexible solar cells be useful?

Picture of the Day…

Circuits and Airplanes!

Today was another adventurous day on University of Kentucky’s Campus! Students have settled into the camp routines. The beginnings of summer hyperness and jitters settled down…a little bit 🙂 We are so thankful for another great group of students this year!

The red and blue groups were busy today with Dr. Thomas and making flying objects. They used the engineering design process and lots of mathematics (surface area) and physics to create a flying object out of different types of materials and did some challenges around how far they could get it to fly. They brought home some of the creative flying inventions today. I hope they explained them to you and why they used the materials they did! Many were amazed about how airplanes fly in the air! In robotics, they got to do some fun open builds, trying out the different motor and movement capabilities. They got creative and built dinosaurs, caterpillars, snakes, etc. They were quite impressed with themselves!

The yellow and green groups got to play with circuits and even create their own circuit boards with their wires and soldering irons. Their precision and attention to detail as they soldered was truly amazing! In robotics, they started the first of their challenges and had fun trying out the programming features and trying to complete the challenge. Tomorrow they will dive into creating their own robot challenge!

The Vex robotics group continued their building today. Many of the groups finished and got to start trying out their builds with their remotes. The groups were excited about the claws on their robots and are anxious to get into programming and the field tomorrow to really test their robot design and programming skills!

In their own words…

  • I would like more about this topic so I can maybe one day build a real airplane.
  • I likeD the forses. of flite.
  • that there is something called air moliclaos
  • I learned how to solder, and the difference between bread bords and circet bords.
  • How do circuits affect in the real world because it is really important.

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • What are the 4 forces of flight?
  • How does an airplane fly in the air?
  • What different materials did you use to build your airplane today? Did your designs work the way you thought they would? What was frustrating about building your airplane? What was fun about designing your airplane?
  • What animal or insect or reptile did you build with your robot kit today? What did you make it do? How did you make it do that?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What’s the difference between a circuit board and a breadboard?
  • Why are circuits important?
  • Tell me how you soldered today. What did you solder together? How does your circuit work?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today?

Vex Robotics

  • How far did you get in building your robot base today? What changes did you make to your robot as you were building it today?
  • What was it like to drive your robot?
  • How do you think your robot will do tomorrow when you start programming it?

Photo of the Day…

More Modeling and DNA Modeling Today

Although the students had to brave the downpour rain at the end of the day (again), there was a buzz and excitement in the air from the fun they had!

Red/Blue Groups:

The red and blue groups were in a biology lab in our beautiful new Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building with Brittany Rice, a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences doctorate program in the College of Medicine. They were able to use state of the art lab equipment, wear lab coats, goggles, gloves, etc. as a real laboratory scientist would (this included some lab safety lessons as well 🙂 ). They made models of DNA and then did a simple DNA extraction themselves to look at their own DNA. They were very fascinated! Then they learned about bacteria and germs and how they grow and where they’re located. They did a bacteria activity with their hands…there was some extra handwashing that went on the rest of the day after they realized the germs on their hands 🙂 In robotics, they started the Green City Challenges. There were some initial frustrations as it’s a little bit different putting the programming together than with the football field and mazes. But they persevered and did awesome!

Yellow/Green Groups

It was their turn to be with Dr. Jennifer Eli, an alumnus of our program and current Associate Professor at University of Arizona, today! She loves to talk to the students about mathematical modeling and what tools we can use to model mathematics and other things. Today they specifically talked about polyhedra and made one of their own using a 3D Pen. Then they get to get creative and build and create their own items…once again, they brought their “A” game for creativity! We loved seeing their personalities come out in their creations and then watching them wear them around proudly the rest of the day. In robotics they started the Space Challenge. Some were bummed they didn’t get to finish the football challenge, but they enjoyed starting to put their programming knowledge together to work on the space challenges.

In their words…

Red/Blue Groups

    • “I liked everything. (except having to leave)”
    • “Of course!  I just think DNA is super awesome, and I would love to have another lesson.”
    • “People can clone other using DNA”
    • “DNA is abreviation for Dyrynucleic acid (or soemthign like that).”
    • “That we made a tripple axel out of candy which is our DNA lines”
    • “I would like to learn more about this topic because it is a big part of our world.”
    • “I liked being able to see what my DNA looked like in a visual form.”
    • ”That there are 25,000 human genes.”

Yellow/Green Groups

  • “I would like to learn more because of the difficulty and the fun of learning it.”
  • “I learned that focus and hard work pay off.”
  • “I liked that it was fun and we had freedom to be creative!”
  • “I learned how to make polyhedrons with a 3-D pen.”
  • “3D pens are not as easy as they look and that they have multiple buttons.”
  • “I liked creating the 3D structures”

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • How did you extract your own DNA today? What did you observe about your DNA?
  • What did you learn from the handwashing activity?
  • What challenges did you start  in the Green City Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today? What was the hardest part about programming today?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What can you use 3d pens for?
  • Why is it important to build models of things?
  • How did you build your polyhedra?
  • What challenges did you start  in the Space Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today? What was the hardest part about programming today?

Photo of the Day…

Click here to view the photos for today!

Photo Credit to UK College of Education PR Team

Energy and Pigs…Oh my!

IMG_2454 reducedThe Yellow/Green groups had a busy day off site at the Center for Applied Energy Research! The students really enjoyed the different activities. They learned about Newton’s Laws through Newton’s Cradle, explored energy through balloons, rubber bands, and masking tape; and built some electromagnets. The energy walk was a bit warm, so they cut that a little short, but the students were great about drinking a lot of water! It was a great fun-filled day!IMG_1206 reduced

The Red/Blue groups faced their dissection fears and had a great day learning about animals, necropsy and organs. Dr. Bryant is a very passionate and engaging presenter and showed the students why her job was important. She studies why animals die in order to help prevent it from happening in the future. Our students at camp have very large hearts and were very concerned for the animals that had died; but rest assured, no animals were harmed and the students discussed ethical issues of animal research. They got to see some really cool things – such as round worms, a IMG_7382 reducedcancerous cow organ, a horse heart, etc. After that, the students got to do their own exploring and learning about organs by dissecting a pig. Most of them handled the dissection really well; they were excited to use the special tools and explore the different parts! Some needed a little more encouragement or sat with me while I dissected for them and then we explored together. 🙂 While learning about the different organs and their functions, they played bingo as well!

In their words…

Yellow/Green Groups –

IMG_0614 reducedWhat did you learn about today that you did not know before?

  • that if i ran a company biomass would bring in the most money
  • i learned that there are tons of different ways to save electricity
  • i learned about different types of energy and how much energy different household items use
  • i learned that the more electrons some thing has, the stronger the magnetic field is
  • That even though some energy is good for your wallet, does not mean its good for the environment.
IMG_3613 reducedWhat did you like about what you learned today?
  • we got to generate electricity
  • i liked learning how to make wire spin forever
  • i learned cheap ways of getting feul
  • there was hands on and what we were learning about was interesting
  • i enjoyed learning about how many kilowates go into certain devices
  • I liked the way people explained things. It kept me interested and it also made sense
  • That people are trying hard to find a cheap and efficient way to make energy good for the environmentIMG_7373 reduced
Would you like to learn more about this topic?  Why or why not?
  • more ways that they are helping us be green
  • yes, i could learn different ways to make and save energy
  • yes, because chemistry plays a large role in finding ways to preserve energy

Red/Blue Groups

IMG_7399 reducedWhat did you learn about today that you did not know before?
  • I learned that I can disect a fetal pig without feeling too sick
  • that Disecting things could find Desesises in animals.
  • That a horse can die from constapation
  • I did not no that some people disected animals to see what was wrong with them.
  • I learned how to disect a pig and other things to do with necrology.
  • That worms have 5 brain.
IMG_7379 reducedWhat did you like about what you learned today?
  • That you can send a animal to a veteranaryan for an atopsy
  • Intestines are like spaggetti
  • I like that it was fun and interesting but it was very gross.
Would you like to learn more about this topic?  Why or why not?
  • No because I felt sick and I dont want to barf
  • Yes, because I want to dissect humans as a pathologist.
  • No, because I don’t like seeing guts and removing Hearts and other stuff.
  • no, I do not prefer this subject.
  • Yes, I would want to learn more because I like gross things.

IMG_7374 reducedConversation Starters

Yellow/Green Groups

  • How do we preserve energy?
  • What kind of fuel is the most efficient?
  • What happened to the balls in the Newton’s Cradle?
  • What could we do at home to become more energy efficient or to generate more energy?

Red/Blue Groups

  • What is animal necropsy? Why do we do it?
  • What did you learn today about the organs?
  • Which is larger…a horse’s heart or the horse’s brain?
  • What was the coolest thing you saw today? What was the grossest thing you saw today?
  • What challenges did you complete in robotics?
  • How do you decide what to program onto your robot?

Picture of the Day… click here to view the rest of the pictures

IMG_7412 reduced

Is it really the end?

It is really hard to believe that today was our last day with these awesome campers! It truly has been a great second week. The students were very well behaved and were genuinely excited about the work they did this week. Today the students got to work with Dr. Tim Knaeur, the director of the MacAdams Observatory at UK. Dr. Knaeur gave a presentation to the students about outerspace in general and then focused on the Milky Way, where Earth’s presence is known. They got to explore more in-depth, Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. They even constructed a 3-dimensional representation of Io! (You probably figured that out already though as your student came home with it tonight)

Today was the final competition day in Robotics. The students made last minute changes to their robots and then it was off to the competition ring. There were mini-competitions and then each group ended with a large competition where all 16 robots competed against each other in the ring. The last robot standing won! It definitely kept the counselors on their toes trying to catch the falling over robots and those that got knocked out of the “ring”. The students really enjoyed it though and it was a nice way to end the week.

In their words…

What did you learn about today that you did not know before?
  • There is volcanic activity outside of the earth.
  • That Io is made of sulfur
What did you like about what you learned today?
  • We got to make Io.
  • How there’s always more to be discovered.

Conversation starters…

  • What new things about the earth did you learn today?
  • Talk to me about Jupiter’s moon, Io (pronounced i – o)
  • What was your favorite part about STEM Camp?
  • Out of all the things you learned this week, what was the most interesting?
  • What career do you want to pursue when you get older? What kinds of classes are you going to need to take in order to be successful in your career?

Photo of the Day…

A room full of Io’s … who knew Jupiter had so many moons!!??

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 6.57.38 PMCheck out the Camp Pictures here

Check out videos of the Product Presentations and the Robotics Competitions Here

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter – @seebluestemcamp

We thank you for a wonderful week with your students and hope you have an enjoyable rest of the summer!

Next year’s camp dates:

June 2-6, 2014 – incoming 5th & 6th graders

June 9-13, 2014 – incoming 7th & 8th graders