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STEM camps offer fun summer learning

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:05 a.m. CDT

In June, July, and August, Northern Illinois University STEM Outreach and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) departments are offering more camp experiences than ever before. Whether students want to learn how roller coasters work, design their own video games, create scientifically stimulating works of art, or prevent future wars between humans and robots, NIU’s STEM day and residential camps have something for every young learner.

New STEM camps include Argue Like a Scientist, where American students will work with visiting Taiwanese middle school students to explore alternative energy and green technologies. The popular Exploring STEM Camp will also offer a chemistry track for middle school campers this July.

Another new addition is STEM Read’s Preventing the Robopocalypse camp. In this interdisciplinary camp, high school students will use Daniel Wilson's best-selling novel "Robopocalypse" to explore robotics, art and design, creative writing, and more. Special guest authors Daniel Wilson ("Robopocalypse") and Dr. David Gunkel ("The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and Ethics") will visit the camp to discuss their work.

The Digital Convergence Lab will host several day camps where students can explore the technical and creative side of game design. The DCL staff will guide students in animation, virtual worlds, character design, story development, logic, and sound effects as they create their games.

Eric Russell, one of the camp instructors, hopes that working with the software will demystify games and give students a firsthand understanding of how many of their favorite games are made.

Organizers say that these camps offer “hard fun” to keep students actively engaged in learning throughout the summer. Go to http://niu.edu/stem/camps/index.shtml for a complete camp listing, to learn more and register.

Preventing the Robopocalypse: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 15-20

Nanotechnology: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 22-27

Just for Girls! Video Game Design: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. June 23-27

Argue Like a Scientist: Alternative Energy: a day camp for students entering grades 5-7. Students will also gain cultural awareness by learning side-by-side with Taiwanese children. June30-July 3

Green Energy: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 6-11

Coed Video Game Design Camp: Section 1: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 7-11

Exploring STEM Through Art: a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 13-18

Exploring STEM Through Nature: a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 13-18

Exploring STEM Through Waterbotics: a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 13-18

Exploring STEM Through Lego EV3 Robotics: a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 13-18

Exploring STEM Through Chemistry: a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 13-18

Engineering Summer Academy: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 13-18

Coed Video Game Design Camp: Section 2: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 21-24

Engineering Amusement: a residential camp for students entering grades 5-7. July 21-26

Math Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 22-27

Coed Virtual World Design: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 28-31

Archeology Day Camp: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 28-Aug. 1

Career Exploration (Choose one of the following tracks: STEM, Health Sciences, Engineering, Video Game Design): a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. Aug. 3-8

Advanced Games Camp: a day camp for students ages 13 to adult (younger students must have attended a prior game lab and get permission from Eric Russell erussell@niu.edu). Aug. 11-14

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