By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Thirty-eight students spent Aug. 7-11 in summer STEM camp at All Saints Catholic School doing many hands-on activities. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. The daily camp incorporated videos, math skills and critical thinking that led to the building and presentation of a project each day. Games were played, too.
Resource teacher Pauline Thomson, first-grade teacher Katti Parker and middle school science teacher Adam Tucker presented the program, which was open to All Saints middle school students.
On Monday, students built paper towers. The project was “tested” with fans to represent wind blown at the towers. Students built bridges made with dry spaghetti noodles on Tuesday, Thomson said. “They had to build tresses and a roadway and the bridge needed to be able to hold weight.” Construction of a water filtration system was Wednesday’s project. Cardboard boats were tested for density on Thursday and on Friday students tested the strength of protective containers during an egg drop.
During the water filtration project, students watched a video to learn about the scarcity of water and the importance of clean water. For the hands-on project the students created a filtration system. A variety of items to use as filters included sand, small rocks, gauze, rubber bands, plastic bags, coffee filters and cotton. Students had to “buy” the items with a goal of spending the least amount of money to build a workable water filtration system.
Students built the filters in groups. They had to figure out what to buy and in what order to apply the materials to make the system work.
Tucker had the students bring forward their systems to put them to the test. He poured a concoction of water, vinegar and other items into the systems to see how fast the water filtered through, how clear the water became and then reviewed costs.
Kennedi McIntyre said she liked the STEM program. Her favorite project was building the bridge. Carley McClanahan likes science and wanted to see some of the teachers. Xavier Kirk said his parents sent him to the program where he discovered that he liked the hands-on aspect of the camp. However, the 9 a.m. start was too early for him during his summer break, he said. Xavier also said he would enjoy science class more during the school year if more hands-on projects versus textbooks were offered