WAYNESBURG – The second annual Camp Tech week at Waynesburg University wrapped up Friday with a chance for parents to see what was learned, and 48 third- to eighth-grade students headed home with new things to think about.
They studied rocketry, used the Internet game MineCraft to craft an Olympic Village, learned robotics and studied the art of gaming.
All in all, it was a fun way to get their minds back in gear for the new school year, just a few short weeks away.
“Camp Tech gives students an opportunity to participate in some innovative summer fun, while getting them interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning through technology,” Intermediate Unit 1 program coordinator Sarah Durzo said.
The technology involved bringing iPads for every student to use and tech-savvy teachers to keep up the pace. Kids brought their own lunches and there were water and nutrition bars to get them through the day that started at 8:30 a.m. in room 301 of Miller Hall. From there, kids went in groups of a dozen to classes that changed four times during the day.
Family members picked them up at 3:30 p.m.
“We had a waiting list this year,” Durzo said. “We sent information through the schools, but mostly it’s word-of-mouth from students who came last year. MineCraft was the most popular part of the program last year and it was again this year. Every kid that came knew how to play, which made it easier for them to learn.”
Eight years ago, Camp Tech hosted its first summer of learning fun at Washington & Jefferson College, and it was an instant hit.
Last year, Camp Tech arrived at Waynesburg University and Durzo was there to get it off the ground.
“We had several students come back to Camp Tech at Waynesburg University this year, and we are looking forward to next year,” Durzo said.
It was even possible to go outside and get wet at Camp Tech.
“We’re going to see what happens next,” teacher Chris Allen said, hooking a plastic bottle with water in it to a makeshift launch pad air compressor. The kids on the lawn outside Hanna Hall watched intently to see the three basic elements of rocketry in action – fire, propulsion and command.
The rocket launched, spewing water droplets everywhere. Kids yelled and jumped around, then settled down to ponder the question Allen then asked: “Of the water and compressed air, what was the fire and what was the propulsion?”
If you don’t know the answer, try asking a kid who just graduated from Camp Tech.
Registration for Camp Tech 2015 will begin in March. For more information, email Durzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit iu1.org.