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Science-driven Camp STEM at MTSU provides spring break option

Spring break for Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools meant it was another opportunity for Homer Pittard Campus School teacher David Lockett to hold Camp STEM at MTSU for children drawn to science.

Learning and fun were the main agenda for March 30-April 2 Camp STEM, which is held at MTSU several weeks during the summer and spring and fall breaks. For more on future camps and registration, visit http://www.campstem.us/register/.

Gabriel "Gabe" Peebles-Ross, 7, a home-schooled second-grader from Smyrna, Tennessee, goes for a spin on a lunar rover with driver Darius Williams of Smyrna. Both participated in the spring break Camp STEM at MTSU March 30 through April 2 in the Tom H. Jackson Building's Cantrell Hall. Peebles-Ross and 20 other youngsters attended the camp while schools observed the annual week off. A Smyrna High junior, Williams served as a teaching assistant. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Gabriel “Gabe” Peebles-Ross, 7, left, a home-schooled second-grader from Smyrna, Tennessee, goes for a spin on a lunar rover with driver Darius Williams of Smyrna. Both participated in the spring break Camp STEM at MTSU March 30 through April 2 in the Tom H. Jackson Building’s Cantrell Hall. Peebles-Ross and 20 other youngsters attended the camp while schools observed the annual week off. A Smyrna High junior, Williams served as a teaching assistant. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Camp STEM is a Middle Tennessee-based option for children with interests in science, technology, engineering and math. It is founded on the principle that students want exciting, challenging and life-impacting STEM experiences. The camp is committed to demonstrate how STEM works in the real world by providing hands-on activities, including:

  • Gabriel “Gabe” Peebles-Ross, 7, of Smyrna, Tennessee, and his 20 other camp mates riding individually on the back seat of the MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program’s lunar rover. He and camper and older sister, Nora, 11, are home-schooled.
  • Christina Hill, 7, a first-grader at McFadden School of Excellence, and the others visiting the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, and learning about plants and how to sew;
  • For Michael Williams, 8, of Smyrna, Tennessee, a Thurman Francis Arts Academy student, it was “getting to go outside and play, make things (flowers, circuits and magnet things he had to sew),” he said;
  • The students hearing about recycling from Stephanie Roach, education director with All in One Recycling; and
  • The students making a rocket out of Alka-Seltzer and water.
Nora Peebles-Ross, 11, a home-schooled student from Smyrna, Tennessee, uses scissors to sew stitches in material that will become bacteria (algae) students made in a Camp STEM at MTSU activity April 1 in the Tom H. Jackson Building's Cantrell Hall.

Nora Peebles-Ross, 11, a home-schooled student from Smyrna, Tennessee, uses scissors to sew stitches in material that will become bacteria (algae) students made in a Camp STEM at MTSU activity April 1 in the Tom H. Jackson Building’s Cantrell Hall.

Darius Williams, 16, Michael’s older brother and a Smyrna High School junior, assisted as a teacher’s helper.

“It’s a blast — a very humbling experience,” he said. “I always wondered how a teacher does his or her job. Some of the things kids got to do in camp I’ve never seen before. It was very eye-opening.”

A first-grade teacher at Barfield Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Natalie Russell is in her third year of being a Camp STEM teacher.

Beth Moore, a K-5 arts teacher at Millersville Elementary School in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, assisted with crafts April 1-2.

A California-based video crew for Click2Science filmed two days of the teachers leading the camp and the Discovery Center field trip. It is expected to be available on the website, www.click2sciencepd.org, in three to six months.

Click2Science is an interactive professional development site for trainers, coaches, site directors and frontline staff and volunteers working in STEM programs serving children and youth when they are out of school.

For more information, call Lockett at 615-569-5904 or email David.Lockett@mtsu.edu.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Stephanie Roach, right, utilizes a recycling activity as she works with a group of spring break Camp STEM at MTSU students April 1. Roach serves as education director for Murfreesboro-based All in One Recycling. More than 20 children attended the four-day camp that featured a visit to the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring.

Stephanie Roach, right, utilizes a recycling activity as she works with a group of spring break Camp STEM at MTSU students April 1. Roach serves as education director for Murfreesboro-based All in One Recycling. More than 20 children attended the four-day camp that featured a visit to the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring.

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