Boyertown East Jr. High hosts STEM camp

From Right to left Natalie Hyland, Cecelia Erndwein and Jessica Hyland making pegs for a peg solitaire game using an injection molder.

Dr. Constructo’s Robotics and More summer camp is in session.

Ed Stallman, a Tech Ed teacher from other district school Boyertown Junior High West, has the attention of the 16 students before him. He co-coordinates the camp along with Kevin Reigner in a Technology Education Department classroom at Boyertown Junior High East. On Wednesday, June 25, they were working on creating marshmallow shooters which use Lego NXT technology.

The Boyertown Area School District Camp pamphlet states that “This camp will educate and expose students to Engineering, Robotics, CNC manufacturing and other related technologies.” It’s one of several varied summer camp offerings the school district proffers. This particular offering is available to area students entering the 4th-9th grades.

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This session, 201, runs from Monday, June 23 to Thursday, June 26. Session 501 of the same camp program will run from Monday, August 4 to Thursday, August 7.

The camp, a Department of Education-sanctioned Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics offering, “is intended to introduce the kids to technology education,” said Stallman.

“We do that through the use of LEGO NXTs, which allow the kids to then build and program devices to do different things,” he continued. “This year, we made a maze and had the bot go through it, and now we’re currently working on making a bot that will drive and launch mini-marshmallows. Along with that, we also are making airplanes called Delta Darts and constructing paper air rockets; and we’re playing with the CNC router and making a big solitaire game.”

“For the parents, it gets the kids out of the house all day and it shows the kids that engineering can be fun; it doesn’t have to be a scary thing,” said Stallman about the camp’s benefits. “They’re doing stuff they’ve probably never done before, playing with Legos, having a good time; they have freedom, but they’re still held to a task. It shows them that school can be fun.”

“I’ve been coming to camp for three years and I’ve loved it so much! This is my last year, which I’m really sad about, because it only goes up to 9th grade. We’ve done Legos for the past three years, which was really fun; I liked programming them and doing all the techy stuff with them. I also did the robots, and we were able to program it to play basketball, which was fun. We’re also working on the marshmallow shooter, which is gonna be awesome!” said Sabrina Piotrowski, 14-years-old.

“A couple years ago, I think it was the first year I was here, we did paper rockets, which we’re also doing this year. We shoot them off with pressurized air and they go really far. The Delta Dart, which is TSA, Technology Student Association, that’s an event that we can do, so it’s good practice because I might do it next year,” she continued.

Sabrina has been involved in TSA since last year and placed third in one of her events, she added.

Jacob Sterner, 12, has also been coming to the camp for three years and concurred with his peer’s evaluation of the camp when sharing his experiences, saying, “We made computer models of boats and we cut them out and sailed them using straws.”

His overall verdict on the camp?

“I like building stuff with Legos and programming stuff. It’s so fun!”