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School district offers STEAM Camp

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Kaleb Phillips, 8, right, talks with Silas Cloer, 9, while using a hair dryer to test his chicken coop design on Thursday during the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools STEAM Camp at Englewood Elementary School. Campers designed enclosures to protect their eggs from simulated weather conditions.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Friday, June 28, 2019

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools is going full steam ahead this summer with a STEAM camp designed to help connect elementary school students to educational concepts as part of the district’s summer enrichment program.

The STEAM camp, which adds the arts to the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, provided 20 third- through fifth-grade students from Nash-Rocky Mount elementary schools with the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in a more relaxed summer setting. The STEAM Camp was held at Englewood Elementary School.

Two other STEM-related camps also were going on this week. Camps held at D.S. Johnson Elementary School and Coopers Elementary School used the Camp Invention curriculum developed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. However, the STEAM Camp curriculum was developed by instructional support specialists and teachers within the Nash-Rocky Mount school district. Four middle school and elementary school teachers across all disciplines taught students at the camp aided by three high school students.

“We felt it was important to include the arts component this year because it helps students make better connections to real life and across curriculum content areas,” said Rachel Scott, the director of the camp. “Including more aspects of learning also gives every student the chance to do something well.”

This is the first time the school district has held a STEAM Camp. Last year, the school district had a STEM Camp without the arts component and a separate Writer’s Theatre camp, which focused more on writing and development of creativity. This year, the ideas behind the two camps were combined with a focus on learning about weather.

“We have given students many opportunities to be innovative, collaborative and creative while integrating science, technology, engineering, arts and math all under the umbrella of weather,” said Suzanne Weaver, a part of the curriculum and instruction team at Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and the coordinator of this year’s STEAM Camp.

The STEAM Camp allowed students to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to build and create weather-related items. These included several art projects involving visual arts and music as well as the development of each student’s own thermometer, barometer and anemometer for measuring wind speeds.

Students researched and prepared their own weather forecast using green screen technology and used the engineering knowledge they obtained to design a miniature chicken coop that would withstand simulated tornados, blizzards, hailstorms and floods.

“This project was really fun,” said Nekayla Avent, 10, a student at Englewood Elementary School. “We learned about engineering and had limits on what we could use for the chicken coop, but we had to find a way to save the egg in the chicken coop.”

The students really enjoyed the camp, Weaver said.

“You know you’re doing something right when parents tell you their kids have been so excited about all they have learned and they are sad that camp is ending,” Weaver said.

To attend the camp, students simply had to register with the school district during the registration period. Spaces for the camps were available on a first-come, first-served basis. Weaver said she hopes even more students will take advantage of the summer enrichment programs offered by the school district next year.

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