Full STEAM ahead

Webster City Middle School students are in their second week of STEAM Camp, a day camp that provides instruction and exploration in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

STEAM camp is an extension of makerspace, a new idea started this year at the middle school, where students can learn and use technology to create new things, or explore crafts and creativity they might not get the opportunity to use, STEAM Camp is allowing the students to create using digital tools.

Teachers Sandy Ausenhus, Dane Barner, Julie Pagel and Gary Scholtens, initiated the idea and received approval from Superintendent Mike Sherwood, to plan and implement a morning camp and opened up registration to Webster City middle school students.

“Students were given ample time to explore and learn the skills to create projects without time constraints, the ability to try something not offered during regular class instruction and being able to independently problem-solve and learn new technology,” said Ausenhus.

Three classes were offered, beginning June 6, each lasting one week and then repeated a second week. Students could learn a computer program to design an object that was printed on the district’s 3D printer. Digital storytelling gave student the opportunity to create a story and then use digital tools, such as stop-animation, to bring the story to life. The third class allowed for learning and experimenting with electrical circuits, creating mini light shows and computer-controlled music and games.

“As teachers, we enjoyed watching the creative process evolve and develop, the independent learning taking place, and being to able to work with the kids in a more flexible and casual environment,” said Ausenhus.

According to Ausenhus, the camp, which is free to students, has been very successful in engaging the students in digital learning. After a successful first summer, students will be able to look forward to STEAM Camp becoming an annual extra-curricular activity.

“We’re hoping to involve more students through word of mouth from this years’ students, add more/different class offerings, and have a wider promotion,” said Ausenhus.