“Exposing campers to new experiences, building their confidence in their own capabilities and getting them to think creatively in their problem solving.” That’s my answer when people ask, “What’s your goal for STEM Camps?” Now it’s our goal for all the NIU STEAM camps.
One way to build confidence is through learning a new tool, whether that’s a screwdriver or photo editor. Many young people today are not using manual tools in their daily life, so we find ourselves filling that gap. Elementary through high school campers can learn to use hammers, screwdrivers, cordless drills, hand saws and sandpaper in camp. Many of our campers learn to solder and make an electronics project for the first time at NIU. These activities build skills, with an emphasis is on learning how to use the tools correctly and safely. Once tools are mastered, we can work on using them to solve engineering challenges and create art.
While many campers come to camp knowing how to use tech tools, such as their phones, tablets, and video games, very few know how to control those tools. If you are not controlling the tech tool, is it controlling you? We introduce campers to controlling a myriad of tech tools through coding in many different settings: block programming robots, coding drones, editing digital images, designing video games, learning to draw with CAD software, programming the laser cutter and 3D printers and much more. We learn the tools to be able to move forward in using them to help solve problems.
Help your son or daughter gain confidence in their own capabilities this summer. Sign them up for a camp that will challenge them.
Camp Director Emeritus
STEM Outreach Director