Southern Colorado STEM camp enlightens young scientists

Students launching rockets
Dr. Warren Layfield, a former NASA engineer and currently the education director for the Colorado Springs Rocket Society, helps a group of future astronauts prepare to launch their first rocket into space. Over 20 middle school students enrolled in the rocketry workshop where they got to build and launch their own rockets.

LA JUNTA —With the assistance of UCCS staff members, Otero Junior College recently hosted more than 60 middle school students for a STEM in Real Life Camp, a summer youth program focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Warren McClure, science faculty at OJC and camp director, said it was a wonderful opportunity for middle school students to engage in fun, hands-on activities that allowed them to explore how science, math and technology work.

“For middle school students who like to build things, work with their hands and find out how things work, it was a great day. They got to solve problems and think through challenges. Best of all, they got to play with scientific gadgets, devices and cool toys,” said McClure.

Students were allowed to choose activities based on what interested them. Students participated in workshops such as rocketry, Lego robots, kitchen chemistry, biotechnology, computer game design, and crime scene investigation.

The OJC STEM in Real Life Camp was an outreach project facilitated by David Khaliqi, director, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, and McClure. Khaliqi and McClure were high school classmates at Crowley County High School and have remained friends.  Also assisting from UCCS was Vicki Taylor, product development specialist, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education.

“I was very pleased with the success we had for our first year,” said McClure. “We had great enthusiasm from all of the students, outstanding instructors and great support from OJC and UCCS. I sincerely hope we can make this an annual event in the future.”

— Photos courtesy Otero Junior College

Building lego robots
Andre Ashida, Swink, and a teammate work to build a Lego Robot in the Lego Robot workshop, taught last week by Dr. Joel Gray during the STEM camp at OJC. These middle school students were getting a glimpse of a college engineering course as Dr. Gray teaches an engineering course at OJC that includes the programming and building of Lego Robots.

Launching rocket
The finale for the day-long STEM in Real Life camp held at OJC last week was the launching of a series of advanced rockets, provided by the Colorado Springs Rocket Society.

2 Comments on Southern Colorado STEM camp enlightens young scientists

  1. I am a graduate of UCCS MBS program. Currently, I am a substitute teacher working in middle schools with STEM programs. I am very interested in your work with these young students. Can you send me more information on your program? Thanks.

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