STEM Camp is a summer enrichment program offered by WSU’s Rochester Education Department in partnership with Riverside Central Elementary School (Rochester Public Schools). It runs in the afternoons during the last week of summer school at Riverside. STEM Camp began in 2010 under the direction of Dr. Maggie Hoody with 47 students and has since grown to serve between 150 – 200 students each summer. STEM Camp is directed by Dr. Joel Traver in collaboration with teachers from Rochester Public Schools. 

STEM Camp Courses

Courses are designed and facilitated by students in the Rochester Elementary Education program, the Graduate Induction Program, and the Master of Science in Education, as well as recent graduates of each program. Each Riverside student gets to take two different classes based on their top five choices.

There are many favorite classes that have been offered each year since 2010, such as Bubbleology and We Do Lego. In addition, we offer a Zebrafish class in collaboration with InSciEd Out and the Mayo Clinic.

We have also worked to design and offer new classes for students. New classes include a solar energy themed course introduced in 2014 and Sphero and Lego Mindstorm classes in 2016.

The following courses were offered during STEM Camp in 2017:

  • Archaeology
  • Bee Bots (new in 2017)
  • Bubble-ology
  • Build It!
  • Explorers
  • The Science of Sound
  • Bulbs & Batteries
  • Solar Power (new in 2014)
  • Rocks
  • We Do Lego
  • Lego Mindstorm (new in 2016)
  • Rube Goldberg Inventions
  • Snap Circuits (new in 2017)
  • Sphero (new in 2016)
  • Oobleck
  • Zebra Fish: Development/Five Sense

STEM Camp Reflections

Following the STEM Camp experience, teacher candidates and GIP residents were asked to reflect upon the ways in which experiences that occurred during STEM Camp would inform their teaching practice in the fall (and beyond).

I will incorporate inquiry-based lessons into my lesson planning whenever possible to enhance student problem solving and genuine engagement with the content.

Because it is important to create learning experiences that are meaningful to children, it is important to understand the background of each student.

What I need to focus on is supporting them in their quest for the understanding of concepts. I also need to encourage them to use vocabulary that may be difficult and develop their own process for assimilating the new knowledge into what they already know.”