As an educator, you have the opportunity to inspire and educate the next generation of STEAM leaders. A great way to do that is through a STEAM summer camp. Summer camps provide a fun and engaging way to introduce students to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematic (STEAM) concepts and careers.
But where do you even start? Starting a STEAM summer camp program — especially in the midst of an already overwhelming to-do list — can feel overwhelming. The team of experienced educators at SAM Labs is here to help with some summer camp tips!
With the right preparation and resources, you can create a memorable and impactful summer camp experience for your students. Let’s walk through 6 ways you can prepare for a STEAM summer camp!
1. Determine your STEAM camp goals and objectives
Determining your camp goals and objectives is a crucial step in creating a summer camp and planning successful STEAM activities.
There are several common goals that many STEAM summer camps aim to achieve. For example, you may want to introduce students to STEM careers and inspire them to explore their interests in these fields.
You may also want to foster their creativity, help them develop teamwork and leadership skills, and enhance their problem-solving abilities.
The purpose of this exercise is to give direction and focus to your efforts, ensuring that the STEAM camp aligns with your desired outcomes. It is essential to think deeply about what you hope to achieve with your camp and what impact you want it to have on the students who attend.
Whatever your goals may be, it is important to make sure they are clearly defined, measurable, and achievable.
Once your goals are established, you can then determine the fun activities, resources, camp staff members, and partners that will help you achieve them.
2. Plan and organize your STEAM camp activities
Once you have determined your goals and objectives, it is time to plan and organize your camp activities. Consider incorporating hands-on activities, workshops, local guest speakers, and field trips that align with your goals and objectives.
For example, you might organize a workshop on robotics or a field trip to a local technology company. To keep your camp engaging and interactive, be sure to include a variety of activities that cater to different learning styles and interests.
3. Maintain a healthy balance of rigor and fun!
Campers should experience rigor and challenge at camp, but activities should still be fun to keep students motivated and engaged!
Tips on How to Balance Your STEAM Summer Camp
1. Consider the age group of your participants.
Young students will likely be more engaged in hands-on activities that are fun and interactive. For older students, a more rigorous approach may be necessary. Incorporate more complex projects and challenges that will push students to think critically and problem-solve.
2. Incorporate SAM Labs kits into your STEAM summer camp.
You can incorporate SAM Labs kits, which are designed for students to learn STEM concepts through play. These kits provide a balance of structure and creativity as students build their own projects using the provided parts and software.
4. Incorporate real-world lessons in your summer camp
Making real-world connections is an essential aspect of a successful and engaging STEAM summer camp.
As a teacher, you want your students to be able to see the relevance and importance of what they are learning. In doing so, you’ll foster their intrinsic motivation and increase the chances that they will remember what they have learned for years to come.
Students should also be able to understand how they can apply their new STEAM knowledge and skills in real-life situations.
The creators of the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program (CPEP) Summer Math Challenge took this approach in their STEAM summer program by incorporating realistic challenges into class projects.
The CPEP program combines face-to-face instruction with game-based software to create an engaging and customized learning experience.
Students work in teams on STEM challenges, such as creating a digitally animated advertisement or designing energy-efficient model homes. These hands-on activities help students apply the engineering design process and improve their math proficiency.
5. Encourage students to work together, collaborate, and support each other
Creating a supportive and inclusive environment is key to making your STEAM summer camp a success. By creating a positive and inclusive environment, you can help students develop confidence, creativity, and a passion for STEM.
Be inclusive and welcoming of all students, regardless of their background or experience. For example, our SAM Space software used for coding allows participants to change language settings. English Language Learners who participated in a STEAM summer camp in New Haven, Connecticut, were able to adjust settings to their native language and get more out of the problem.
6. Get support from SAM Labs
If you’re looking to create an engaging and successful summer camp experience for your students, be sure to check out our summer camp offered by SAM Labs. With SAM Labs, you can create a STEAM summer camp that inspires and prepares the next generation of STEM leaders.
At SAM Labs, we believe that STEAM education should be accessible, engaging, and fun. Our 2023 Summer Camp program provides students with the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and learn new skills in a supportive and inclusive environment.
Our program includes a range of activities, such as coding, robotics, and electronics, that cater to different learning styles and interests. Our team of experienced educators and mentors will be there to guide students every step of the way.
With our innovative and engaging program, your students will leave camp with a newfound love of STEM and a wealth of new knowledge and skills. Get started on your STEAM summer camp journey today with SAM Labs!
Shaunda Douglas is a former educator with over 15 years of experience in all levels of education. In her free time, she reads, plays with her dogs, watches baseball, and loves a good nap.