An adventurous path to their own classroom

STEM Adventure Camps

“I honestly did not know what the students would do with the random materials they were given. They devised some really clever games together I never would have dreamed up myself.”

Emily Haskell saw a clear picture of her future as a teacher develop this summer. Nikita Loreman did as well. In fact, they discovered it together, sharing a classroom as part of Bloomsburg University’s Great STEM Adventure Camps that hosted more than 550 students from area schools.

Soon the two education majors will have a classroom of their own.

“My favorite part was seeing how the students take the task and make it their own in ways that I did not anticipate,” said Haskell, who is pursuing a master’s in mid-level education, adding her favorite activity was the Game Design Challenge. “I honestly did not know what the students would do with the random materials they were given. They devised some really clever games together I never would have dreamed up myself.”

Throughout the course of the week the students — split into two different age groups — explored ways to grow their science, technical, engineering and math interests and abilities. The camps, which were coordinated by BU’s STEM Education Center, also investigated the arts.

“At this time of year in a traditional classroom setting, students are usually at the verge of checking out of what they are learning in a classroom,” said Loreman, a senior early childhood education major. “They have just spent a lot of time and energy completing their 180 days of school. They are mentally exhausted. When you get these students out of their classroom and onto a college campus, they want to be involved, they want to participate, and they want to learn.”

Each day focused on a different STEM theme. Specifically, the students enjoyed activities in art, biology, computers, engineering, math and technology led by BU students and faculty, as well as a few featured guest presenters.

“(This camp experience) reminds me how important it is for students to have hands-on activities that go beyond the traditional learning experience,” Haskell said. “With all of the current technology students have at hand, this generation is used to being creators. As a teacher, I have to keep that in mind when designing lessons.”

Haskell says the STEM week serves as a reminder there will always be successes and things that do not work out as well. The only failure is not to try, according to Haskell.

“This week was a great opportunity for local students as many of the skills they will need to be global citizens, such as collaboration, inquisitiveness, and creativity, are fostered at the camp,” Haskell said. “It gave them the opportunity to do lots of hands-on, collaborative activities that they might not experience in the classroom.”

According to Loreman, her favorite aspect of the week was the collaboration she had with fellow BU students and professors who helped with the camp.

“As I grow in my educational career, I find that I love finding ways to assist my peers, obtain other professional opinions and ideas,” Loreman said. “And ultimately just share my love for teaching and learning with people that have a similar mindset.”

In relation to the campers Loreman said she really enjoy seeing students find an activity or a particular topic that they fell in love with.

“Some students (including us, as college students) often persuade themselves to dislike certain subjects when they get challenging,” Loreman said. “I love seeing the realization on students faces when they acknowledge that everything around them from their own bodies to nature is indeed science and math.”

BU and Martz Technologies partner on high school STEM competition

Focusing on “Improving Pennsylvania through Water: STEM in Action,” Bloomsburg University’s Regional STEM Education Center will team with Martz Technologies to host the first Bloomsburg Fair STEM Competition in conjunction with the Bloomsburg Fair Association and the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. The competition is open to participating STEM Magnet high schools.

Each school will be allowed one team of five students. Teams will research, present and design a project this is capable of improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians by incorporating water. Teams will be provided a $250 stipend to help cover the cost of supplies needed to build their project. Students will present their project and explain the practical applications of their device to a panel of distinguished judges from industries, academia and government.

Projects from all participating teams will be exhibited in the Technology Building at the Bloomsburg Fair during fair week. A significant cash award will be given to the school with the winning project to support its STEM program.

Regional STEM Education Center receives PPL grant

Bloomsburg University's Regional STEM Education Center received a $25,000 grant from the PPL Foundation. The funds will support the GI-STEM: Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Day for regional Girl Scouts and the Great STEM Adventure Camps at Bloomsburg University.

GI-STEM Day encourages Girl Scouts in Brownies (second and third grades), Juniors (fourth and fifth grades), and Cadettes (sixth-eighth grades) to get excited about the STEM field. The day, designed to teach girls how to enjoy both learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and be very successful in school in STEM subjects. During the program, Girl Scouts move through hands-on STEM stations facilitated by Bloomsburg University education and nursing majors to learn about STEM principles. Also, the Girl Scouts will hear from female STEM speakers and have presentations from Mad Science of Lehigh Valley and Chesapeake Bay Field Research Station.

The STEM Adventure Camps provide an avenue for students going into grades 5-10 to develop their science, technical, engineering, and math interests and abilities. The three camps provide different experiences. The Explorers camp explores the environment and our interaction with it every day through the exploration of environmental, geographical, and geological sciences. The Investigators camp provides students an opportunity to learn about the biological sciences through experiments and dissections. Finally, the Innovators camp offers a chance to develop technical skills and interests in the world of computers by experimenting with computer forensics, coding, and encryption, and study computer programming. All campers also participate in STEM activities each afternoon.