Day 1 of Week 1 is in the books!

Wow! What a great first day everyone had! We are very excited to welcome 90 elementary campers and 62 Vex robotics campers this year! They’re quite the eager group and we’re thrilled to have them on UK’s campus! Thanks so much for everyone’s assistance and patience this morning as we got all 152 campers check in. It went as smooth as it could have and awesome!

Just a note about the consent and assent forms that we ask for every year. Our camp is subsidized by an NSF grant that requires research and reporting to the agency.  The purpose of the research is to develop a camp model that promotes STEM careers to students and can be replicated. We also look at students attitudes towards STEM and the impact of our activities. Without this grant and consent and assent to participate the camp simply would not exist. We never report any names or any individual data…it’s always aggregated together! You can read about some of our work here.

We will post a blog post each night this week with some highlights from the day and some conversation starters. The conversation starters are meant to help you get over the “What did you learn today?” “Nothin’” or <shrugging the shoulders> we often see with our school-age students. We’ll also post a link to the photos we are taking throughout the week. If at any time you want a photo removed that is of your child, please let us know and we’ll be happy to take it down.

Please make sure and check twitter throughout the day this week – – we’ll post more pictures and updates throughout the day the rest of the week.

Vex Robotics

Today was all about building and becoming familiar with the Vex system. The groups worked on building their chassis for the clawbot. Some groups also started trying some basic programming to get their clawbot to move. All the groups will be into the programming tomorrow, so expect more stories about how they’re getting their robots to move!

Red/Blue Elementary Groups

It was a robot day today for these groups! They spent half of their day with Dr. Walcott and Dr. Thomas building scribble bots from scratch. They learned about how motors worked, how electricity flows though the battery, and the importance of a cam on a motor. They had a lot of fun trying the bots out and even personalizing them a bit 🙂 The blue groups got put in their bags, so some didn’t make it home quite in one piece, but the students know how they are to be put together, so you can help with them that endeavor.

Yellow/Green Elementary Groups

They spent half of their day with Dr. Testa extracting DNA from a strawberry! They were very careful scientists with their tools and were amazed at what the DNA looked like! They also explored different types of DNA.

Robotics for Elementary Groups

In robotics, they are using the We Do 2.0 robots from Lego Education. UK switched over to a new wireless network last month and some of the Chromebooks had some issues, but we are happy to report that they’re all resolved and we’ll be back on track with devices tomorrow! The students were awesome with sharing devices and still getting their building in. Many of the students were able to program their robots and try out some of the basic different programs. Lots more fun challenges coming tomorrow!

In their words…

Each day we’ll post some excerpts from the students’ reflections of what they learned each day at the STEM Content session. We don’t correct for spelling or grammar in these 🙂

  • That fruit has DNA
  • That I could see DNA if I do a few things
  • How to build a really cool robot that I have never built before
  • I liked it because theres a lout of creativity
  • I love chemistry
  • I want to learn more so I could see more DNAs

Conversation Starters… 

We know your child is getting to the age where it might be like pulling teeth to get them to talk about their day beyond “It was fine.” “It was fun.” “I didn’t do anything.” So, each day we’ll post some suggested conversation starters centered on camp activities or STEM-related themes.

Blue/Red Groups

  • Tell me about how you assembled your scribble bot. What tools did you have to use carefully? How did you know how to connect things? What did your scribble bot do when you connected the motor to the battery?
  • Tell me about how you assembled your We Do robot? What is your robot’s name? What did you get your robot to do today?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What is DNA? What things have DNA? How did you extract DNA from the strawberry? What did it look like?
  • Tell me about how you assembled your We Do robot? What is your robot’s name? What did you get your robot to do today?

Vex Robotics

  • What is a chassis? How did you get it built?
  • If they programmed today, what did they get their Clawbot to do?

Photo of the Day…

Each day we’ll post a camp highlight.  Click the picture and it will take you to the weekly photo album. Please note that we try to capture pictures of all the campers, but we cannot guarantee that we will get every single one. We try our very best to though! Also we are STEM teachers and not full time photographers, so our pictures are not perfect and we leave them unedited, so if you love to edit photos…feel free! If there is a photo you wish to have removed, please email me and we’ll take it down!