STREAM Camp Gets Rolling

Making rain during STREAM Camps
06/04/2019
By: Todd Martin
With the school year behind them, a group of first- through eighth-graders ready for more, are catching a fresh wave of active, varied learning in Killeen ISD’s STREAM Camp.
 
The name suggests change and movement, which is appropriate, but it’s also a descriptive acronym addressing an evident community desire.
 
You get STREAM when you add reading and art to the familiar STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.
 
Mix those ingredients together and the result is great fun and learning ranging from messy mixing to painting with a remote-controlled robot, computer coding and plenty of simple drawing and pasting.
 
Five Killeen ISD school librarians planned and operated the STREAM Camp, including Reeces Creek librarian Dina D’Amore, the event coordinator.
 
After many years of limited attendance in a smattering of KISD elementary school libraries in the month of June, a group of librarians came up with the idea for the active three-day camp with capped participation.
 
Last year and again this year, the four camp sites filled up the first morning of online registration, amounting to 220 students signed up for sessions split in morning and afternoon at four schools. The waitlist this year numbered 100.
 
“We know there is a need,” D’Amore said Tuesday during the morning session at Timber Ridge Elementary School. “Kids are excited. They don’t want to go when it’s over.”
 
Many of the sessions are simple crafts that tie in to a math or science concept. They made foam rockets propelled by rubber bands. They used colorful tissue paper to make suncatchers. They squeezed flour from plastic water bottles into balloons to make squishy stress balls.
 
They also tried their hands at rolling miniature robots and, with the help of longtime robotics team volunteer John Gregory, got their hands on some remote-control, wireless robots.
 
Another popular activity allowed students to paint with a rolling, spherical robot, which provided a creative means to learn to maneuver the bot with an iPad control.
 
Students sprayed water onto a stretched-out length of wax paper and stepped under it to feel the rain formed from droplets crowding together just like in a cloud.
 
“We just want our students to be interested in school and coming to the library,” D’Amore said, explaining that the library is a natural common area and resource hub. “Kids are excited and I love to see how they are trying new experiences.”
 
“I like how children are getting a chance to enjoy science,” said Laura Holz, librarian at Clear Creek Elementary School and a former science teacher. “It’s not just science, it’s really everything and they’re learning it in a fun way.”
 
Braylon Rowe, an incoming Smith Middle School sixth-grader, was participating and helping lead sessions at the STREAM camps. “It’s really fun and they’re still learning,” he said.
 
“It’s really available for all ages. There is a lot of making and a lot of science, too,” he said. “If you look in depth, you can learn a lot or you can just have fun.”
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