Last day extravaganza!

It’s hard to believe the week is already over! The students were really sad, but we made sure they had a great time (and were worn out!) by the time they left us today. It’s truly been an exciting week of discovery, adventure, and curiosity. The students were awesome! They were inquisitive. They explored. They tinkered. They built. They programmed. They persevered through challenges and celebrated their successes. We loved seeing the transformations!

WKYT and the Herald Leader stopped by today for a visit. The students were so excited to show off their knowledge and show them how things are done in “STEM” 🙂

WKYT Videos –

Herald Leader Video –

Red/Blue Groups

They were in a chemistry lab with Dr. Kenneth Graham, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and his graduate students in the Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building today and got to test out different types of solar panels and even created their own solar panel! They tested them inside and outside to see how much energy was needed to power a LED light. In robotics, they wrapped up the Green City Challenge…there were lots of cheering going on as there were many, many successes today!

Green/Yellow Groups

They got to use mathematical modeling to build bridges with Dr. Jonathan Thomas, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education. They got to use a variety of materials to first build the tallest tower they could, and then they built a bridge. They had to keep track of costs though on the bridge building; the goal was to hold at least 8 pounds. There were some fabulous designs! The students used the design engineering process to design, build, test, tweak, test, etc. their products. In robotics, they wrapped up the Space Challenge…just like the other groups there were many successes and lots of high fives, big smiles and cheering going on!

In their words…

Red/Blue Groups
  • “Black Berries can make a solar panel!
  • “Nylon is in tooth brush bristles.
  • (Do you want to know more about his topic? )”yes so I could possibly make my house solar powered.
  • “I liked making the solar cell”
  • “I learned what chemists did, how nylon was made, and how to make a solar panel.
  • “You can make a solar panel out of a blackberry!
  • “I learned the chimist are more inportant than I thought.”

Yellow/Green Groups

  • “Paperclips are a really strong building material.
  • “I learnd that quality is not all about how it looks
  • “how diffrent stuctures effect the strength of towers and bridges
  • “I liked when we got to test our bridge
  • “We got to build bridges”
  • “How to make sure a bridge works
  • “how diffrent stuctures effect the strength of towers and bridges”

Conversation Starters…

Blue/Red Groups

  • What is solar energy? What can it do for us?
  • What did you measure today using your multimeter? What did you find out?
  • Was there a difference in the panels you looked at today?
  • How did you create your own solar panel? Could you create one for our home?
  • What did you get your robot to do today? How did you do that?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? How do you think STEM will help you in your career?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What do bridges need to be strong?
  • How did you decide what materials to use for your bridge?
  • How did you decide on your design for your bridge?
  • How did your bridge do when you tested it?
  • How tall was your tower you built?
  • What did you get your robot to do today? How did you do that?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? How do you think STEM will help you in your career?

Photo of the Day…

Creativity and Motors!

Another great day at STEM Camp came to a rainy and stormy end. The kids really settled into the routines well and were excited about the different sessions today.

Red/Blue Groups

The students got 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…this group this week is very creative! 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 dove deep into the program, working the See Blue Football challenge. There were lots of celebrations and hard thinking.

Yellow/Green Groups

Today the students split their time between Dr. Bruce Walcott and his graduate students. In Dr. Walcott’s session, students were immersed in the wonderful world of engineering…using their hands to build and explore just as engineers do. The students got to build simple motors and talk about what electrical engineers do. The motors were definitely a favorite!They also tested out their design engineering skills by building a boat out of aluminum foil and seeing how many pennies it held. The students also got to tour the College of Engineering facilities, including a stop in the anechoic chamber, and ending with an up close and personal look at the solar car and how the college students designed and made it! The students had fantastic questions they asked today. In robotics they dove deep into the program, working the See Blue Football challenge. There were lots of trials, re-programming, and finally some celebrations 🙂

In their words…

Red/Blue Groups:
  • “I really like the fact that we got to get a lot of hands on experience with 3D printing.”
  • “I learned that 3D drawing is hard, I didn’t think it would be hard, but I was wrong.
  •  “I like how we got to be creative and how we made shapes”
  • “Plastic can go from solid to liquid to solid again very fast.”
  • “3D pens are fun to work with if you’re careful.”
  • “I learned more about geometric shapes”
  • “I did not know how useful a 3-D pen could be so helpful”

Yellow/Green Groups

  • I would becasue with 3d-printing you can help alot of people.
  • “I would becasue with 3d-printing you can help alot of people.”
  • “That solar cars can get up to 90mph and weigh less than 1000 lbs. Also, canoes can be made out of concrete.
  • “Solar powers cars are clean and efficient. People race these and concrete canoes.
  • “It taught me how to make soemthing I use every day
  • “I liekd how we learned how to make a motor with househeld items because it show that you could do this easily at home.
  • “I learnt how to remove enamel from copper wire.”
  • “Whenever you put a magnet near the copper(on the north) it starts to spin)”
  • “I liked constructing the motor.”
  • ”We learned through trial and error and got to conduct experiments”
  • “I liked using materials/hands on! The solar car was awesome!”


Conversation Starters…
Red/Blue 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 have in programming your robot today? How did you overcome them?
  • What successes did you have with your robot today?

Yellow/Green Groups:

  • Is there a particular field of engineering that you think might interest you?
  • How many pennies did your boat hold? If you could build it again, what would you do differently?
  • What did the inside of the solar car look like?
  • How did you build a motor?
  • What challenges did you have in programming your robot today? How did you overcome them?
  • What successes did you have with your robot today?

Photo of the Day… Click the photo to access all the camp pictures.

Another great day…CAER and Dr. Cooper!

IMG_7342 reducedThe Red/Blue 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. It was a great fun-filled day!

The yellow/green groups got to hang out with Dr. Robin Cooper and his graduate students today. The students got to see a real heart, lungs, and brain today. They got to put probes on themselves to measure the electricity going through their bodies. They also viewed and made conjectures about larvae and other fruit fly stages when they were exposed to different colors of light. The did some touch tests with crayfish.

IMG_7324 reducedIn their words…

What did you learn about today that you did not know before?
  • Today I learned how mutations effect fruit flies in different stages of their life. I also learned about blind spots.
  • I learned about optogenetics and how our nerves and senses are effected.
  • That you can change the brain waves of a fruit fly.
  • I learned about the different senses, organs, and the brain
  • That a blood clot could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
What did you like about what you learned today?
  • I liked experimenting with my partner, larvae, fruit flies and crayfish to discover how light, touch, and other senses react or work.
  • I liked touching the lungs and brains.
  • Being Able to touch Actual Real Body Parts that someone once owned
  • I liked how we didn’t see the circle when we covered the opposit eye and focus on the object
  • I like that they experiments made me think about the results.
IMG_7288 reducedWould you like to learn more about this topic?  Why or why not?
  • Yes, because it can solve people’s problems.
  • Yes, because it shows the different types of heart, lung, brain problem of what they look like.
  • I would like to learn more about this topic because this experiment could be tested on many different specis.
  • I would because learning about senses and how they work or can cause reactions especially when modified, was informative and fun.
  • I would like to learn more about this topic because it helps humans and the nervous system is awesome!
Conversation Starters…
IMG_7335 reducedYellow/Green Groups
  • How did your fruit flies react to light? What did they do? How did you measure their movement?
  • What was your favorite body organ you learned about? What kinds of things affect its size?
  • Tell me about how you programmed your robot. What kind of challenges did you start?

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do we preserve energy?
  • What kind of fuel is the most efficient?
  • What happened to the balls in the Newton’s Cradle?

Photo of the Day… Click here to view the rest of the pictures

IMG_7306 reduced

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.

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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