Exploration Tuesday!

We had another fabulous day at STEM Camp! The sea of green looked awesome walking across campus, especially since freshmen registration and orientation started today all across campus!

The red and blue groups had a fabulous day with Dr. Walcott in the College of Engineering. They learned about the different types of engineering (Dr. Walcott likes to call them flavors) and toured several of the research labs where the graduate students showed them the latest research they were working on with the professors. They also made robots today called Scribble Bots…the students had a blast building their robots and learning about circuits. They may need some hope taking the battery in and out as the case is really tight for it.

The yellow and green groups took a turn in Dr. Cooper’s lab today with him and his graduate students! Many came home with tracings of their body – they traced themselves and then drew pathways of the nervous system. They then did some investigations with sensitivity, the nervous system, and crawfish. They also visited the medical education center where they looked at different human organs, some were diseased and some were healthy. The students were surprised at how heavy the brain was!

In robotics, all groups dove right into programming today. They learned about the FLL challenge they’ll be doing on Thursday and goals for programming this week. They started on the maze challenge and color sensor challenge. Tomorrow they will start stringing more code together and adding on different sensors.

In their words…

  • By making a lobsided moter it creates more vibration.
  • That non-flat walls take away or capture more sound then flat walls, flat walls make an echo
  • that dead brains look disgusting
  • I learned about nuerons and synapse
  • heat can change when you take your hands off nose
  • I didn’t know that the signals from the brain react to your body when you get hurt.
  • that crawdads have a tail reflex

Conversation Starters… 

Red/Blue Groups

  • What was your favorite part of the engineering tour? What did you learn about engineers today that you did not know before?
  • Tell me about how you assembled your scribble bot. How did you know how to connect things? What did your scribble bot do when you connected the motor to the battery? What does the glue stick on the end of the motor do?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Yellow/Green Groups:

  • How do muscles in your arm move? What is the path of the signals?
  • How do you create electricity with your arm?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned about the human organs today?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Photo of the Day…

Wickedly Hot Kick Off to Week 3!

We had an awesome Day 1 of our 3rd week of Camp this month! It was a pretty hot day, but the 120 students were very diligent about drinking water throughout the day. Check in went really well today…Thanks so much for everyone’s assistance and patience this morning as we got all campers checked in!

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 have a goal to post a blog post each night this week with some highlights from the day and some conversation starters. [Admittedly, our family obligations have been great this summer, so bear with us please 🙂 ] 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 – https://twitter.com/SeeBlueSTEMCamp – we’ll post more pictures and updates throughout the day the rest of the week.

Today in the red and blue groups, they ventured all the way across campus to discover things about their nervous system, look at the human organs in the medical science education center, and conduct some investigations around introreceptors, contracting muscles and other fun stuff! Many of them brought home body tracings they did and some of the major nerve pathways drawn. Be sure to ask about the crawfish investigations tonight! They got to see nerve impulses in action.

The yellow and green 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.

In robotics today for all groups, it was building day. All the students are doing EV3 robots this year. Today they focused on building their robots and learning about how the different parts and pieces work together. Some of the groups flew through building and were able to start on some programming. Tomorrow they will all dive into the programming and start some of our challenges. For the challenges, we use a blend of our own curriculum our robotics instructors have created and some of the FLL challenges, including the new one for this year.

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 🙂

  • If you got hit in the kidnesy you have to pee
  • I did not know about newrons, axons, bulbs, dendriles, and synapes.
  • I loved examining old body parts
  • I did not know the brain is heavy.
  • I learned about aerodynamics and gravity.
  • flight=drag lift thrust
  • more weight in the front of the plane will make it glide more.
  • I learned how exactly planes fly and how weight distribution affects their flight.
  • I learned how flaps on the plane affect how air molecules hit the plane.

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.

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do muscles in your arm move? What is the path of the signals?
  • How do you create electricity with your arm?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned about the human organs today?
  • Tell me about how you assembled your robot. What is your robot’s name? What do you think you will get your robot to do when you start programming it?

Yellow/Green Groups:

  • What makes an airplane go into the air?
  • What are the different types of airplanes you created today?
  • What did you take into consideration when you created your airplane? How did that work for you? What are some other things you tried?
  • Tell me about how you assembled your robot. What is your robot’s name? What do you think you will get your robot to do when you start programming it?

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!

Halfway through!

Another steamy, hot, awesome day at See Blue STEM Camp! We’re thankful the weather has been cooperating this week, although this afternoon was not quite as fun to walk across campus in.

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) to create a flying object out of different types of materials and did some challenges around how far they could get it to fly. I’m sure they enjoyed showing you their creations tonight!

The green and yellow groups spent time with Dr. Cooper today in his lab with his graduate students and with the medical outreach center. They learned more deeply about the nervous system and how it works. Many of them brought home body tracings they did and some of the major nerve pathways drawn. They did some investigations around nerve impulses with crawfish and also talked about their own brains and nerves and what happens when you learn how to do something.

In robotics today, all four groups continued along with their challenges. They worked with sensors, loops, variables, and stringing more complex code together. They really enjoyed the different challenges. We love how persistent they were and how they are really problem solving through changing different variables to get the robot to do something different. It’s truly amazing with robotics (and other technology) that when they fail, they’re actually more motivated to fix it and get it right! This is truly a joy to watch during camp, especially their faces and the excitement for when they overcome a challenge. Tomorrow they will begin the First Lego League Challenge for this year. They are very eager to get started!

In their words…

  • There’s a variety of molds for planes
  • All airplanes are tilted a little bit, to fly.
  • I learned about airodynamics, physics, + thrust
  • That a plane need 4 diffrent forces to keep it in the air.
  • Aerodynamics and Lift, drag, trust, and weight.
  • The wings on the plane are bent down a little so the air molecules hit the underside of the wing violently to keep the plane up against gravity.
  • The toy poodle can detect missing people the best
  • That the brain controls more of your hand than any other body part
  • Once our body gets used to doing somehting we can multitask and forget the first thing.
  • I learned how craw fish are very sensitive on the tails.
  • I learn about how we hear differently than animals.

Conversation Starters

Red/Blue Groups:

  • What makes an airplane go into the air?
  • What did you take into consideration when you created your airplane? How did that work for you? What are some other things you tried?
  • What challenges did you complete in robotics today? What did you do to get your robot to go?

Yellow/Green Groups:

  • How do the brain and nervous system work together?
  • What is one of the most sensitive parts of the body? Why is it so sensitive?
  • What happens to the crawfish’s tail when you touch it?
  • What challenges did you complete in robotics today? What did you do to get your robot to go?

Photo of the Day…

Steamy STEM Fun!

We’re cruising right along this week. The students really have gotten into a nice groove already! They’ve really done well with teamwork and have conducted some great investigations already!

Today the blue and red groups ventured all the way across campus to discover things about their nervous system, look at the human organs in the medical science education center, and conduct some investigations around introreceptors, contracting muscles and other fun stuff!

The yellow and green groups took their turn with the UK engineering complex. Along with the different labs, they got to build some motors and use the engineering design process to investigate surface area and mass.

In robotics, both groups dove right into programming today! They started with some of our maze challenges and many jumped into the sensors and using the sensors. Tomorrow we have some more unique challenges up our sleeves! The students are paired up for the robotics and they have truly done a fabulous job of working together already! We always emphasize collaboration, taking turns, and talking through problem solving together; it’s really nice to see such great teamwork in action on Day 2 already!

In their words…

  • I learned you can create electricity with your arm
  • I learned that your fingers are more sensitive than your arm.
  • you have the ability to sense PH
  • Our muscles create electricity.
  • I really liked doing the crafrish activity because it gave a good understaing of sensitiveity + senses
  • I liked the tour becuase it explained alot about Engineering at UK.
  • most boats don’t sink because they have a large amount of volume
  • I liked going the the sound canceling room and the 3-D Printing room.

Conversation Starters

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do muscles in your arm move? What is the path of the signals?
  • How do you create electricity with your arm?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned about the human organs today?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • Tell me about your plan for your boat you assembled today? What did you take into consideration? Did you change your plan at all?
  • What was your favorite part of the engineering tour? What did you learn about engineers today that you did not know before?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Photo of the Day…

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!

Fruit flies, bacteria, and DNA modeling!

Another beautiful day in the Bluegrass as students explored more STEM topics with our awesome professors and graduate students!

Red/Blue Groups

Today the students 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 and then did some sampling to see what bacteria would grow (if any). They’ll get to view their results on Friday.

In robotics, the students started on the green city challenge. The green city challenge requires them to put multiple steps together and complete different tasks such as moving the dam or turning the wind turbine.

Green/Yellow Groups

Dr. Robin Cooper is a Biology professor at UK and has been a long time supporter at STEM Camp. The student always have so much fun in his lab as they experiment with drosophila (aka, fruit flies)! Today they did some sorting of the fruit flies under the microscopes in the lab. They had fruit fly “races” as well. They also did some physiological investigations on how the body reacts to certain flavors and spices. The students also got to spend time in the medical outreach facility where they get to look at and hold real organs, talk about their purpose and function, and look at EKG’s of themselves and their friends.

In robotics, the students started on the space challenge. The space challenge requires them to put multiple steps together and complete different tasks such as moving the moon rocks or opening the satellite.

In their words…

Blue/Red Groups

  • We got to extract DNA (for real) from our body
  • I did not know that you could get DNA fro your cheeks
  • it is weird and gross
  • working with biohazardous items
  • I loved learning about Dna & I love doing expirements.
  • I loved the expirements.
  • I learned lots about DNA. I learned that you can extract DNA with gatorade.
  • How DNA has to have a specific base pairs
  • Would you like to learn more about this topic? – Yes I would so I could help the earth.

Yellow/Green Groups

  • I learned about how the DNA of a fruit fly is very similar to that of a human and a bunch more about the human body and how it reacts (book).
  • I loved everything. -Learning about the body using the fruit flies -reading about the human body -actually touching the organs
  • I am fascinated with genes and biology.
  • Larva fruit flies roll away as a defense tactic.
  • Humans share 20% of DNA with fruit flys
  • if a cockroaches heads off it still can sense a persons from coming
  • I would probably faint at hte sight of Blood or Bugs
  • It was hands on gross stuff
  • That ockroaches can survive without their heads
  • It was hands on
  • That Larva are extremely agile

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 did you swab for bacteria today? What do you think you will see on Friday when you look at it again?
  • What challenge did you start with today for the Green City Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • Why did you study about fruit flies today? What was your favorite part of working with the fruit flies?
  • What organ was the most interesting to look at and hold today? Was there an organ that surprised you in what it looked like?
  • What challenge did you start with today for the Space Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today?
Photo of the Day…