BOISE — Earth is approximately 40,208,000,000,000 kilometers away from its closest star.
“My mind is completely blown!” exclaimed one student after learning that fact at a summer camp focused on space and astronomy.
Astronomy was just a piece of what children learned during their time at the STEM on the Move camp at Boise State University this week. They also synthesized biodiesel, engineered wind-powered cars and identified microinvertebrates in water samples.
STEM on the Move is a program under the umbrella of Boise State’s Summer Academy. This week’s camp catered to Canyon County children, who were transported to Boise State’s campus to participate.
Over 40 students from Canyon County participated in activities designed by classroom teachers and Boise State professors. These activities focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The camp also recently added lessons in art.
The goal of STEM on the Move is not only to academically engage students in the summer, but also to provide STEM opportunities to kids who wouldn’t normally have access to such camps or programs.
A computer coding lesson in the morning taught students the difference between “for” loops and “while” loops. Students took it a step further and wrote their own code to test the loops on each other. But their favorite part, evidenced by the laughing and shouting, was translating the coding to the movement of mechanical robots.
“Why haven’t we been doing this the whole time?” asked one student who was determined to make his robot “do doughnuts” around the classroom.
The STEM on the Move program is provided free to children entering grades 7 and 8 from Canyon County. The camp is sponsored by a grant from the Idaho Transportation Department and accommodates up to 25 students each week.
Check BSU’s Summer Academy website to see all the programs available each summer as well as the registration timelines for each.