Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics.
The STEM Summer Camp at Maine School of Science & Mathematics ended the 2019 season on August 3rd. Over 550 middle school campers came to the small town of Limestone in beautiful Aroostook County to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. The campers had three hands-on classes daily and then a non-STEM class called “Instructor’s Passion”. After that, they participated in traditional summer camp activities such as rock climbing, creating tie dye shirts, baking, capture the flag, swimming, and of course our special 100-foot mega slip-n-slide.
The camp started in 1997 as a camp for girls to get them interested in the STEM fields, but expanded to six weeks total with three for boys and three for girls. In 2018, the camp changed to five weeks with a co-ed week in the middle. We have found the new model to be very effective and plan to continue.
The classes are designed to keep kids academically stimulated through the summer and have no homework nor prerequisites. The only requirement is curiosity for how things work. Some of the classes this year and past years have included Real Life CSI, Model Rocketry, 3D Printing, You Can Do the Cube (Rubik’s Cube), The Science of Clay, Intro to Programming, LEGO Robotics, Catapults and Trebuchets, and many more. This year brought a new idea, Instructor’s Passion for the 4th class. It was a shorter class where each instructor taught a hobby or interest such as origami, Japanese language, drawing, creating your own game, appreciating Beethoven’s music, team building, etc.
The MSSM STEM Summer Camp brings educators, staff, and campers from all 16 counties, a few other states, and even a few foreign countries. Each year we strive to improve the camp based on feedback from the campers. We don’t make anyone an expert in each week of camp, but we do love when campers learn something and say, “Wow! This exists.”
For more information about the MSSM STEM Summer Camp and Maine School of Science and Mathematics, go to: www.mssm.org.