What are your young Einsteins going to do to keep their minds engaged?
This June, July and August, NIU STEM Outreach and other 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 inspired works of art or prevent future wars between humans and robots, NIU’s day and residential STEM camps will stimulate campers with widely varied interests.
“We’re very excited to offer new and engaging ways for campers to experience science, technology, engineering, and math,” says STEM Outreach Director Pati Sievert. “These camps are all about hands-on, problem-based learning. We go way beyond the text book to introduce students to the creative and innovative world of STEM concepts and careers.”
In addition to popular camps such as Engineering Amusement for middle school students and the STEM Career Explorations Camp for high school students, a variety of new programs are available. In Argue Like a Scientist Camp, American students will work together with visiting Taiwanese middle school students to explore alternative energy and green technologies.
The Exploring STEM Camp also will offer a new chemistry track for middle school campers this July.
Another new addition to this year’s STEM Camp line up is STEM Read’s Preventing the Robopocalypse Camp.
In this interdisciplinary camp, high school students will use Daniel H. Wilson’s best-selling novel “Robopocalypse” as the basis to explore robotics, art and design, creative writing, and more. Special guest author Wilson and NIU’s David Gunkel (“The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and Ethics”) will visit the camp and discuss their work with campers.
The Digital Convergence Lab is also hosting several day camps where students can explore both the technical and creative side of game design. The DCL staff will guide students in animation, virtual worlds, character design, story development, logic and even sound effects as they create their games.
This year campers will also get to experience the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset designed to immerse players in a 3D gaming experience. The DCL currently has a team of NIU students developing an application for this cutting-edge virtual device.
The Oculus Rift, which campers can work with during video game design camps, promises to usher in the next generation of virtual reality game play.
Eric Russell, one of the video games camp instructors, hopes that working with the software will demystify games and give students a firsthand understanding of the ways that many of their favorite games are made. Russell, who specializes in 3D modeling, animation and virtual reality, has taught games labs for several years.
“Most of the game camps focus on creating 2D games, which are a great way to learn the basics of game design, whereas the virtual worlds camp and the advanced camp, focuses on 3D game development, which is intrinsically more complex.”
Organizers say that these camps offer “hard fun” to keep students actively engaged in learning throughout the summer.
For additional information, check out the camp listings below or register online.
- Preventing the Robopocalypse: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 15-20
- Nanotechnology: a residential camp for students entering grades 10-12. June 22-27
- Math Camp: 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 (Choose one of the following tracks: Art, Nature, Waterbotics, Lego EV3 Robotics, 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
- 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-August 1
- Career Exploration (Choose one of the following tracks: STEM, Health Sciences, Engineering, Video Game Design): a residential camp for students entering grades 10-12. August 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 firstname.lastname@example.org). August 11-14