Students in Tullahoma City Schools will be on fall break Oct. 3-14, and the Hands-On Science Center (HOSC) is offering to supplement their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education through a variety of intercession day camps throughout the month of October.
HOSC Education Director Jamie Treadwell said the camps will be focusing on STEM technology through LEGOs, which give children the basic building blocks of the STEM education they will receive in middle and high school in a user-friendly manner.
The camps will also cover state mandated STEM material, according to Treadwell.
“We’ve been doing a lot of STEM (this past year),” said Treadwell. “We had the Tennessee Tech STEMmobile back in the summer, and we hope to get that back next summer as well. This camp is just one of many we’ve been doing.”
According to Treadwell, the camps are a product of an educational workshop she was chosen to attend in April in Miami.
“I was one of 15 science education program leaders in the southeast chosen to attend a National Science Foundation workshop based on STEM,” Treadwell said.
The National Science Foundation granted the San Francisco Exploratorium a $1 million grant to design and test a STEM program geared toward attracting more young female participation in STEM fields. It was titled “Exhibit Designs for Girl Engagement” (EDGE). Treadwell was one of a select group of educators from around the country chosen to attend the EDGE focus group in Miami, where she learned the ins and outs of the program. She then brought what she learned back to Tennessee and turned that knowledge into the curriculum for the day camps.
Treadwell is adamant in teaching the importance of STEM education to young children as soon as possible.
“It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to be when you grow up,” she said.
“Our kids aren’t going to be ready for careers in technology unless we start now,” Treadwell said. “It’s important for girls, for boys, for (all) Americans that we focus on STEM right now. That is the way our country is moving. That is the future: careers in technology. Everyone from the age of 9 just about carries a little microprocessor in their hand. People no longer wear wristwatches. The U.S. is no longer a product producing economy, other than cars. Everything that we buy as consumers has a ‘Made in China’ stamp on it. We are trying to get STEM back into the hands of American children.”
Though the April workshop’s particular focus was on engaging more women and girls in the STEM field, Treadwell said the HOSC camps will allow more universal accessibility in the STEM fields to all children in a way that’s entertaining and fun for them by using LEGO building blocks.
“(Using LEGOs) just makes STEM seem a little more user friendly and encourages people to want to do this. We try to make science universally appealing to everyone,” she said. “Everybody loves LEGOs. They’re fun. It’s education that’s fun. Kids want to have fun while they’re on break, but we’re going to sneak in a little education to keep their brains active.”
The following camps are available to children in Kindergarten through fifth grade:
Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 4-5: LEGO Technology
Thursday-Friday, Oct. 6-7: Cell Biology: Building Blocks of Life
Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 11-12: Adventures in LEGO
Thursday-Friday, Oct. 13-14: Energy Pyramid: The Circle of Life
Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 18-19: LEGO Technology
Thursday-Friday, Oct. 20-21: Cell Biology: Building Blocks of Life
The camps run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Cost is $30 per day for HOSC members; $35 per day for non-members, with a sibling discount of $5 per day.
Extended care is available from 8-9 a.m. and/or 3 to 5 p.m. at an additional cost of $5 per day.
Preregistration is required at www.hosc.org/camps.
The Hands-On Science Center is located at 101 Mitchell Blvd. in Tullahoma. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Call 455-8387.