3d Pens, Nervous System and Physics!

What a fabulous day Thursday was today. This is such a great group of students! They are really exploring, investigating, asking good questions, and staying curious about everything that’s going on. We’re thankful for all the support for the camps each year. We are completely self-funded now, which was a goal of our previous grant. We are thankful for UK kicking in some money for financial assistance this year so we can keep creating opportunity and access for students and families. Several of our food vendors – Schlotzsky’s, Domino’s, and City BBQ – give us discounts which allows us to provide options for food for our students. And of course our awesome staff – inservice teachers, graduate students, preservice teachers, UK staff and faculty, and our high school mentors – we could do not anything without them! This year, we’ll serve just over 500 students for the See Blue See STEM summer experiences. It’s sometimes hard to believe that Dr. Craig Schroeder, Mark Evans and Dr. Bruce Walcott started this with just 8 students in 2010 at Jessie Clark Middle School. My how we’ve grown!

Initial flight testing on the first airplane designs

In the red and blue groups, they got to spend time with Dr. Robin Cooper and his team in the labs today. They learned about the nervous system and how it interacts and runs the different parts of the body. They got to conduct investigations on crayfish – watching their reaction time, learning how they respond to different stimuli, and learning about why we study crayfish. They visited the medical outreach lab where they got to see and hold different organs – the brain, spinal cord, and heart are big favorites! In the purple and brown groups, they spent the day with Dr. Jonathan Thomas learning about physics in the context of airplanes. They learned about the different forces that help make an airplane fly and then they constructed different types of airplanes and tested them out. The designs get really creative as they construct the different types, and this group really embraced it! In robotics, they had a creative build day and ended up having a dance party with their robots! This group of students really is a creative group and embraced it hard core when making their dancing robots today. It was so awesome to see!

One of the creative dancing robots!

In the yellow and green groups, they spent the day with Dr. Cindy Jong immersed in the world of mathematics from a very unique perspective – origami and 3D pens. The students were really surprised about how we can use origami to create models and understand things in mathematics. They came home with some pretty awesome models! The 3d pens are fantastic way for students to get creative and show that part of themselves off. We use 3d pens to form models, especially on-the-spot. In robotics, they finished up different maze challenges that allowed them to explore and use their different robot sensors. Several started on the First Lego League challenge and worked on writing more challenging code, but with less steps.

In their own words…

  • sometimes bugs or thangs like that can regrow there diffrent parts of there body.
  • That I whant to catch a crayfish
  • sensory nerves send messages from our hands to our brains
  • that you had two kines of nearves
  • That the heart does not look like the heart you draw
  • I think it’s fun to modify air planes and make them go faster.
  • How to make an origami trioctohedran.
  • It was fun and creative
  • I learned habout how to use a 3-D pen, and how to make a 3-D oragami cube.
  • How to make a stellated octotetrahedron.
Creating with the 3d pens!

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do our senses work with our nerves in our body?
  • Why do we study crayfish? Why is the tail so important?
  • Were you able to taste the cinnamon today?
  • Did you hold any of the organs? What did they look like? What did they feel like? Did you think they would look different than they did?
  • What did you build with your robot today? What did you make it do? Did your robot do what you thought it was going to do?

Purple/Brown 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 did you build with your robot today? What did you make it do? Did your robot do what you thought it was going to do?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • Why do we use origami to model different objects in mathematics? What did you enjoy about origami? What was frustrating about origami?
  • What type of object did you build and model using origami today?
  • Why do you think 3d pens could be useful in the future?
  • What did you create today with your pen?
  • What challenges did you complete with your robot? What has been your favorite thing about coding this week? What has been the most challenging?

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.