Ending on a high note!

IMG_2384 copyIt’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of the week! Today was an even busier day since it was the end of the week and the students were extra alive today from all the activity this week. The blue and red and groups got to experience Dr. Brett Criswell’s wonderful awe-inspiring world of nanotechnology. From experimenting with peach fuzz and different types of plants, to talking about polymer-chains found in over-the-counter indigestion medicines, the students were taken to the teeny tiny world of nano-land. They had a great time conducting different experiments and even remembered such things as Congo Red! In robotics, they wrapped up an awesome week with finishing many challenges in the green city challenges. There were lots of screams of excitement, joy, and high fives going around as the students became more communicative within their groups and more confident in their programming skills. We tried to capture some video of it today. Clicking on the video will take you to our YouTube Channel where you can view more videos from today.

IMG_2359 copyThe yellow and green groups got to experience the wonderful world of engineering with our resident engineering expert, Dr. Bruce Walcott. The students got to tour the engineering complex at UK and got to go into many of the different laboratories that UK College of Engineering has. There were faculty and graduate students onsite in the laboratories so they were able to show the students some of their latest research discoveries and experiments and let the students tinker with some of the lab materials as well. Seeing real research happening is always inspiring to the students and they really ask great questions that sometimes even stump the researchers! Of course the favorite again was the sound proof room. I’m not sure what it is about that room, but they always enjoy it! They also built mini motors and talked about simple machines with Dr. Walcott. They really enjoyed the various engineering design activities and applying their content skills. They ended their engineering time with some teamwork activities, including the favorite Hula Hoop Challenge. Students often forget that in the real world, most of our work is done in teams and communication is vitally important. So the students had a great time learning to communicate and talk to each other more.

IMG_2361 copyLego robotics for the yellow and green groups was much more successful today. We even had a couple of groups do all the challenges on the Space Challenge! The Space Challenge and EV3 programming is definitely a lot different from the NXT programming, so some were frustrated a couple of days ago, but were much more confident today. It was such a joy to watch them grow over the past week in this area. They really enjoyed the Space Challenge…it is definitely more complex than the Green City they were used to before!

We all had such a great and enjoyable week with the students. It would not at all have been possible without the tremendous staff that we had this year! I had a bit of a panic moment when (because of snow days) we decided to combine both camps into one week; but some quick creative thinking brought on an awesome opportunity for our preservice teachers in our middle and secondary programs and our doctoral students at UK. Some of the college students took a Robotics class with me prior to camp starting and assisted Mark Evans and Robbie Randall in the robotics rooms and some of the college students just wanted to help out with the camp. I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to and thank our staff this year.

We have a great group of graduate students in the STEM Education department at UK and these 5 are no exception!

IMG_4756 copy
L-R Back – Kayla Blyman, Floyd Broughton, Thomas Roberts; L-R Front – Maranda Miller, Marla Lemmon

Our inservice teachers are priceless! Robbie and Mark take the lead on the robotics, Brooke (Green Group), Tavin (Yellow Group), Megan (Blue Group), and Candice (Red Group) were our team leaders this year, of course Craig is the inventor, creator, and director of the See Blue STEM Camp. The camp is a way for our inservice teachers to stay connected to the university, provide high quality mentoring to the preservice teachers involved, and even have the opportunity to engage and learn new content and materials alongside the students.

IMG_4765 copy
L-R Back – Robbie Randall (Beaumont MS), Mark Evans (Jessie Clark MS), Candice Cprek (Henry Clay HS); L-R Front – Brooke Powers (Beaumont MS), Tavin Feheley (Jessie Clark MS), Craig Schroeder (Beaumont MS). Not pictured – Megan Vogel (Tates Creek MS)

Since we were going to 1 week with 144 students, we knew we had needed to have more help. It was an obvious choice to offer the opportunity to the preservice (future teachers) middle and secondary mathematics and science students in our College. Through this unique experience, they got to work with the students in a smaller, low-stakes setting that allowed them to really practice their classroom management skills, their questioning techniques, and work on developing appropriate relationships with students. They were mentored through this process by the high quality inservice teachers as well as the college faculty we had involved. Although they were exhausted by the end of the week, they all stated this was the best learning experience they have had thus far and really enjoyed the opportunity to grow as future educators and felt they gained a lot of STEM content knowledge alongside the students as well.

IMG_4767 copy
L-R Back – Andre Henderson, Brian True, Alex Freeman, William Schooler, Michael Delfino, Eric Garwood, Zeke Edwards; L-R Middle – Ben Wolfe, Maria Richards, Brittney Denton, Lydia Speler, Amy Allen, Tyler Waters, Chris Rogers, Clay Rehmel, Shelby Cameron; L-R Front Row Katherine Poe, Alanna Briggs, Jamie Kosel, Michael Plas

Craig, myself, Christa Jackson, Mark Evans, Gabe Brown, and Bruce Walcott are the team that make up the directors of the camp. We do everything from logistics to food to parent communication to anything else that needs to be done to help things run smoothly.

L-R Craig Schroeder, Christa Jackson, and Margaret Schroeder; Not pictured- Mark Evans, Bruce Walcott, and Gabe Brown
L-R Craig Schroeder, Christa Jackson, and Margaret Schroeder; Not pictured- Mark Evans, Bruce Walcott, and Gabe Brown (they were making sure everything was running smoothly while we were snapping pictures!)

Conversation starters…

Red and Blue Groups

  • What is nanotechnology?
  • What kinds of things repel water? Why do they need to repel water?
  • How do you make magic sand?
  • Peaches reflect water? I’ve never heard about that. Tell me more!
  • What challenge(s) did you complete in the Green City Challenge?
  • How do you and your partner(s) work together to program and complete the challenges?
  • 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?

Yellow and Green Groups

  • What is a sound proof room? What makes it sound proof?
  • What was your favorite lab you visited? What made it your favorite?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete in the Space Challenge?
  • How do you and your partner(s) work together to program and complete the challenges?
  • 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?

Video of the Day… This video really exemplifies why we do this and why we feel it’s important for students to have these opportunities.

Check out the Camp Pictures here

Check out videos 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 are tentatively set for June 8 – 12, 2015 at the University of Kentucky Colleges of Education and Engineering for rising 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. 


The Wonderful World of Engineering!

IMG_4837 copyWith all 143 students back on campus today we were all pretty busy…having lots of fun! Today was full of engineering fun for both groups. Red and blue groups had a blast with the Dr. Walcott and other College of Engineering staff. They got to tour the different facilities and laboraties the College of Engineering has. One of their favorites was going into the sound proof room…now if only we could get them to stay quiet for 30 sIMG_4861 copyeconds to really experience it 🙂 They also got to design an aluminum boat and test it’s floating capacity. In robotics, they got started on the Green City Challenge today and had a lot of great successes. There were lots of smiles and high-fives as the students completed the various tasks associated with the challenges. Tomorrow they are in for another treat with Dr. Brett Criswell and some nanotechnology action! IMG_4867 copy Since the astronomy viewing was not available all week because of night time cloud cover, Dr. Tim Knauer – Director of the MacAdams Observatory – came over after his class today and set up his special telescope that allowed the students to view the sun directly. They were very excited to see the fiery ball and even a ring was visible! We only wish the other two groups could’ve seen it too, but he is teaching a class until 12:30 each day. IMG_4844 copy

The yellow and green groups took to some design engineering activities with Mr. Doug Klein from Project Lead the Way. Mr. Klein had them building away during their session. The students were very excited to be “real engineers” for the day and got to design and build dams and levees. In robotics they started the newly-released Space Challenge. Since this is a new, it brought about it’s own set of challenges, but the kids did a great job of working through it all together, being patient, and working on programming. One group got up to 53 blocks for one program! Wow! Tomorrow they will get to end with a STEM Camp favorite – Dr. Bruce Walcott.

In their words…

The wonderful world of engineering! (Dr. Bruce Walcott) – red and blue Groups

  • ​I learned that when being an engineer you have to consider the volume of what your creating like what we did with the pennies.
  • That concrete boats float
  • Yes because I enjoy both math and science which are what you use in engineering.
  • The more the volume of a boat, the better it can float with weight.
  • I thought the activities made it fun.
Design Engineering – Mr. Doug Klein – yellow and green groups
  • ​Building the egg mobile
  • That we got to actually enginer stuff.​
  • I learned how to build a dam.
  • I am interested in a career in engineering because I like to create things and solve problems.
  • Yes; engineering is all around us and is a big part in life.
  • Levees (effective ones, at least) can be made with tape, cardboard, dirt, and popsicle sticks.
  • It was interactive, fun, and included one of my possible careers.
  • Yes because I love Stem and it is my passion.

IMG_4793 copyConversation Starters…

Blue and Red Groups

  • What is a sound proof room? What makes it sound proof?
  • How many pennies were you able to put into your boat? What makes your boat float?
  • How did you find the area or dimensions of what your boat needed to be?
  • What was your favorite part of engineering today?
  • What challenge did you complete in the Green City Challenge?
  • How do you and your partner(s) work together to program and complete the challenges?

Yellow and Green Groups

  • What does it mean to be an engineer?
  • What do you need to build a successful levee or dam?
  • Talk to me about how you created your levee or dam today. What did you take into consideration as you built it?
  • What is an egg mobile?

Picture of the Day… Be sure to scroll through the pictures as I noticed that I didn’t hit accept to publish the pictures from yesterday. I’m missing half of the pictures from today so I will get them uploaded in the morning…my apologies…we’re trying hard to keep up with these great kids! IMG_9635 copy

We made it through Hump Day!

IMG_2591It was yet another busy, fun-filled, informative day at the See Blue STEM Camp! The Yellow and Green Groups loaded up the buses and headed out to the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) today while the red and blue groups remained on campus for a day of robotics and mathematical modeling with Dr. Cindy Jong. The yellow and green groups really enjoyed their time at CAER and learned A LOT. They came home with some paving stones that they made themselves and learned about the chemical reactions between concrete and cement…be sure to ask them about it! If the stones start to crack put a little water on them as that should help it as it cures. Since they were out at CAER today there was no robotics for them.

IMG_2868The red and blue groups had a great time doing some mathematical modeling with Dr. Cindy Jong. I always love having the students experience “pure mathematics” because most come in sullen that they “have to do” mathematics and then they realize that math can be engaging and fun! They first talked about 3D structures and had the opportunity to build with some sticks and balls manipulatives trying to figure out the varying strengths of different configurations. Then they learned what origami had to do with math. They made origami cubes and some even got to the crane today. They were all very excited by the end!

In robotics they worked on programming. They learned how to do a 180 degree turn, complete the parking lot challenge and the square challenge. They learned that not all robots are created equal and had fun figuring out which variables (math!) had to be changed in order to get their robot to do what they wanted it to do. That completes the basics for them so tomorrow they will start on the Green City Challenge.

IMG_4720 copyTomorrow we’ll all be back together on campus…we have deemed tomorrow Engineering Day! The students will spend most of their time in the engineering complex tomorrow…it’s usually one of the favorites!



In their words…

Mathematical Modeling (red and blue groups):

  • ​I learned about polyhedrons.
  • I liked doing the origami crane.
  • I really liked that my bridge didn’t break.
  • I liked how we got to build 3D shapes.
  • Yes, because I would like to build bridges when I grow up.

CAER (yellow and green groups):

  • ​​Seaweed can be made into fuel and is edible.
  • A lot of the information we learned today could benefit us in the real world.  Some of the information we learned could inspire us to be scientist
  • I find this very applicable to real life situations.
  • Yes, because I like science and I wish to work here one day.
  • About how many biofuels like algae can consume carbon-dioxide and create any fuel.
  • I liked learning these things today because It will help my future.

Conversation Starters…

Yellow and Green Groups:

  • What did you learn on your energy walk today?
  • Where does Kentucky rank in comparison to the other states in energy usage? Why is our ranking so high when we have such a low population?
  • What in the world is Flocculation?
  • I always thought that cement dried…what happens to it if it doesn’t dry? What is it actually doing?
  • What was your favorite part of going to the Center for Applied Energy Research?

IMG_4681 copyRed and Blue Groups:

  • What does origami have to do with math?
  • What kind of shapes did you use in building your bridge?
  • How did you get your cube together without using tape or glue?
  • Why is mathematical modeling important?

Picture of the Day… Don’t forget that clicking the picture will take you to all the pictures we took today!

Collage Day 3

Day 5 – Working towards a sustainable future

IMG_1630On the final day of camp, Dr. Leslie Vincent, from the College of Business, kept the students very busy investigating sustainable solutions and dreaming up big ideas. They had the opportunity to do some team building activities including another bridge building activity, which was a nice extension from what Dr. Jong did with them yesterday. The students were IMG_1583immersed in “design thinking” as they came up with their dream sustainable product.

For the final day in Robotics, the students had mini-competitions…with themselves. Instead of doing a full competition, the students worked on completing the individual challenges for Green City. We saw lots of dams IMG_1662being broken down, smoke stacks being replaced, etc. The students really seemed to enjoy robotics this week and learned a lot.

We took some video today and we’ll try to get it uploaded by Monday at the latest. We really enjoyed this group of campers and we hope that they will consider coming to the See Blue STEM Camp next year!


Day 4 – What’s Math Got to do with it?

IMG_1527Today the campers got down and dirty with marshmallows, toothpicks, and paper in order to explore three-dimensional geometry. Dr. Cindy Jong, from the Dept of STEM Education challenged the students to see mathematics in everyday life through a bridge activity and then furthered the exploration with origami. The students were so excited they even worked through lunch on their origami figures!

IMG_1570In robotics, the students continued with their Green City Challenges. Today they focused on starting the windmill, placing a solar panel on a rooftop, and tearing down a dirty smoke stack and replacing it with a clean one.

The campers have really settled into their routines nicely! It’s hard to believe we only have one day left!! We did a better job of taking pictures today so click here to see the new additions!