A Fantastic Thursday!

After a rainy morning, we really enjoyed the cooler weather and another fabulous hands on STEM day. I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of camp and that will close out our month of STEM camps on campus. It’s always sad to come back the next week to the quiet halls of the buildings.

The red and blue groups spent the day with Dr. Haley Bergstrom and her team learning about fitness, human performance, and how we can use STEM to explore, investigate and learn more about the body. The students learned to take the pulse and conducted an investigation about how pulse can change with physical activity. In robotics, the theme was Things that Move. They had the choice to build a race car, lunar bot, pull bot, trash or recycle truck, street sweeper, etc. They had a lot of fun and were very creative in what they built and added to their robot! They even had some races going.

In the yellow and green groups, they got to learn about labs on a chip and conduct some investigations. They looked at the properties of different types of liquids and the pros and cons of each. They used microscopes to make observations about the properties. They even learned how to make fake blood! The orange and pink groups spent the day with Dr. Walcott and his team for some electrical engineering. They took tours of the engineering complex at UK and got to see a lot of the research laboratories and here about some of the investigations going on. They learned how to build a computer and built their own computer with arduinos. They had a lot of fun testing them out to see if their wiring worked! In robotics, they dove into the First Lego League Challenge – Trash Trek. Many were trying to move pieces from one place to another and to pick up objects and move them. This takes precision and patience to code and they did a fantastic job with it!

ChemCamp had another great day in the lab! They spent part of the day with Dr. Kenneth Graham. They dove deep into the chemistry of solar cells and how we can use natural resources to create solar cells, especially ones that are flexible. They also completed some investigations on polymer efficiency.

In Their Own Words…

  • that some bloob from your heart goes to your lungs and then your body.
  • That old people have mor blood than children.
  • I want to learn more about heart parts.
  • I learned what a micro fluidic mixer chip is and what it does
  • How fake blood is made
  • I learned how to build a compute.
  • I learned that 10 fingers could actually be 1024 different combinations.
  • The difference between analog and digital computers

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • How do you take your pulse? Why is it important to take your pulse?
  • What happened to your pulse after you ran around outside?
  • How did you create a model of the lung and diaphragm?
  • How do the lung, heart and diaphragm work together?
  • What did you build with your robot today? How did you make it move?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What is a lab on a chip?
  • What did you observe under the microscope?
  • How do you make fake blood? What do we use it for?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today? What are you hoping to achieve or complete tomorrow?

Pink/Orange Groups

  • How do you build a computer?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned on the tour today?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today? What are you hoping to achieve or complete tomorrow?


  • How do you make a solar cell?
  • What kind of materials are good conductors?
  • What would we use a flexible TV for?
  • Why would flexible solar cells be useful?

Picture of the Day…

Downpour Fun!

About every 3-4 years there’s nothing we can do but get caught in a super fun downpour. This year was the year. The kids were great sports and everyone had a chance to dry out and have a great afternoon!

The red and blue groups were with Dr. Bruce Walcott in the College of Engineering today. They got to extend a lot of their learning from the energy lesson the day before. They built simple motors, learned what all the different fields of engineering were and what they did, and then played and coded with the ozobots. In robotics, they did an open build with animals, different from the ones they built the day before. Snakes were one of the most popular ones, especially when they got the mouth to open and close!

The green and yellow groups were with Dr. Haley Bergstrom and her team where they learned about fitness and how we use STEM in human performance. They learned about the importance of the heart and lungs. Built a model of a lung, did a fitness test to see the difference in their pulse before and after, and did some reaction tests. The orange and pink groups spent the day with Dr. Brandi Frisby and her team with virtual reality. They learned about the different types of virtual reality, how they create virtual reality worlds, and then got to create their own. They really enjoyed the space and shark VR! Many found it very relaxing. In robotics, they finished up the maze and C-A-T-S challenges and started on the First Lego League Challenge – Trash Trek. Most groups are using their sensors proficiently now and stringing multiple steps together!

ChemCamp did some exploration with the periodic table of elements and then the favorite was extracting DNA from a strawberry. They were amazed that strawberries had DNA!

In Their Own Words…

  • You can use chemicals to determine other chemicals
  • I loved quantum chemistry
  • What soluble and insoluble means
  • the DNA extraction of strawberries
  • I didn’t know that there was AR I only knew about vr and 360˚
  • I learned how to properly make a 360˚ video
  • That 3 pound weats can be heavy if you hold them long enof
  • I learned that the average adult has 5 liters of blood
  • I learned that when you breath in your diaphram drops when you exhale your diaphram comes back up.
  • I learnd aubout engineering and what I did not no before is how to make motors.
  • I want to learn more about electricity because it’s fun to learn about it.
  • I learned low volt use Ampere’s Law ElextioMagnet

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • What type of engineering sounds interesting to you?
  • How did you make a motor?
  • What is an ozobot? How did you make it go?
  • What did you build with your robot? If you could create something else, what would it be?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • How do you take your pulse? What is your pulse?
  • How do the lungs work with the diaphragm?
  • How did you build a model of the lungs?
  • What did you notice about the fitness test?
  • What challenges did you complete with your robot today? How confident are you in programming your robot the way you want to?

Pink/Orange Groups

  • What is virtual reality? What are the different types?
  • How do create a 360* video?
  • What virtual reality did you experience today? What was it like?
  • What challenges did you complete with your robot today? How confident are you in programming your robot the way you want to?

Photo of the Day…

Circuits and Airplanes!

Today was another adventurous day on University of Kentucky’s Campus! Students have settled into the camp routines. The beginnings of summer hyperness and jitters settled down…a little bit 🙂 We are so thankful for another great group of students this year!

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) 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. I hope they explained them to you and why they used the materials they did! Many were amazed about how airplanes fly in the air! In robotics, they got to do some fun open builds, trying out the different motor and movement capabilities. They got creative and built dinosaurs, caterpillars, snakes, etc. They were quite impressed with themselves!

The yellow and green groups got to play with circuits and even create their own circuit boards with their wires and soldering irons. Their precision and attention to detail as they soldered was truly amazing! In robotics, they started the first of their challenges and had fun trying out the programming features and trying to complete the challenge. Tomorrow they will dive into creating their own robot challenge!

The Vex robotics group continued their building today. Many of the groups finished and got to start trying out their builds with their remotes. The groups were excited about the claws on their robots and are anxious to get into programming and the field tomorrow to really test their robot design and programming skills!

In their own words…

  • I would like more about this topic so I can maybe one day build a real airplane.
  • I likeD the forses. of flite.
  • that there is something called air moliclaos
  • I learned how to solder, and the difference between bread bords and circet bords.
  • How do circuits affect in the real world because it is really important.

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue 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 animal or insect or reptile did you build with your robot kit today? What did you make it do? How did you make it do that?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • What’s the difference between a circuit board and a breadboard?
  • Why are circuits important?
  • Tell me how you soldered today. What did you solder together? How does your circuit work?
  • What challenge(s) did you complete with your robot today?

Vex Robotics

  • How far did you get in building your robot base today? What changes did you make to your robot as you were building it today?
  • What was it like to drive your robot?
  • How do you think your robot will do tomorrow when you start programming it?

Photo of the Day…

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