August 10, 2016 – Showing youth how to create technology — instead of simply using it — was the goal of the Air Force Services Activity Child and Youth Programs 2016 STEM Camp. The camp was held August 1-5 at the STARBASE Academy on Peterson Air Force Base in partnership with Colorado 4-H.
Twenty-four 6-8 graders attended the five-day camp according to Chett Kline, Peterson AFB Airman & Family Services Flight chief. During the program, they were introduced to a variety of hands-on experiences related to circuits, robotics, molecular models, engineering design, computer aided design and 3-D printing.
The camp taught the value of design thinking, building confidence with technology through problem solving, and individual learning experiences.
A field trip to Challenger Learning Center for a simulated Voyage to Mars was part of the program as well. The campers took on the roles of a spacecraft crew on a journey to Mars, and operated the space ship and explored the Red Planet. The simulation was popular with many of the campers.
“It was a lot of fun to experience what astronauts would experience and go through,” said Alexandra Manion, age 12. “(The camp) was fun and I learned a lot. If I had a chance for another STEM camp, I would go to it again.”
The Air Force partners with 4-H to offer STEM camps, as well as other camps for military youth and families each year.
“I thought it was a pretty cool experience,” said Dominic Herrera, age 12. “It’s cool that the Air Force (offered the camp) so kids could learn new things. It was good how teachers got to teach us all this stuff and we got to do projects in between.”
Herrera said he enjoyed the Voyage to Mars and the opportunity to work with robotics.
“I’ve been dreaming about doing robotics for so long, and now I got to do it,” Herrera said.