Summer STEAM Experience to offer two online camps this year

Programs explore arts, sciences and technology for students in grades 6-8 and 9-12
Rebecca Thacker, program manager for Professional Education Programs and Services, at UW-Stout packs one of the boxes for the Summer STEAM Experience.
Pam Powers | April 5, 2021

University of Wisconsin-Stout will expand its Summer STEAM Experience this year, offering events for students in sixth to eighth grade as well as the camp for students in ninth to 12th grade.

The new Junior STEAM Experience will run online from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, June 21, to Friday, June 25. Students will learn about tabletop game design through activities with UW-Stout instructor Jay Little.

The Summer STEAM Experience is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, June 14, to Thursday, June 17, online. Classes in science, technology, engineering, art and design will be featured. Camp activities and a college student panel are also planned as part of the camp.

Rebecca Thacker, program manager for Professional Education Programs and Services at UW-Stout, which is organizing the STEAM events, said registration for both experiences is open.

“This really highlights what UW-Stout does well,” Thacker said. “We have a great art program. We also have great science and engineering programs. We get to showcase that and give students an opportunity to experience that.”

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Students participating in the Junior STEAM Experience will learn about tabletop game design through activities with UW-Stout instructor Jay Little. / UW-Stout photo

Little, a game design and development lecturer in the School of Art and Design, also teaches tabletop game design, which is offered in both STEAM experiences. He said students receive a special kit of materials called the White Box, which provides dice, cubes, discs, tokens, and everything they need to help develop their tabletop games.

“We are going to help students flex their creative muscles and work together in small groups,” Little said. “We use fun activities like Mad Libs to design games. Everyone will be able to work together and then be able to leave with a copy of the game they created.”

Tabletop game creation requires creativity through art and design but also uses math skills and engineering to create a game that is challenging yet fun to play, Little said. Students will also be able to continue creating other game ideas they have with the kits.

Little said he enjoys teaching students during the STEAM experiences. “I love games so much,” Little said. “One of my favorite things to do is share gaming with others.”

As a youth, Little was bullied and found his social group through role playing games, which helped build his confidence, he noted.

Summer STEAM Experience students have the option of six tracks this year including anatomy, tabletop game design, music and math, 2D animation, video game design and interior design.
Summer STEAM Experience students have the option of six tracks this year including anatomy, tabletop game design, music and math, 2D animation, video game desig / UW-Stout photo

The STEAM experience for older students will offer six tracks, Thacker said.

A new track this year is music and math with UW-Stout’s Director of Choral Activities Jerry Hui. In the track participants will learn the math and physics of sound, create new musical instruments with software synthesizers and teach a computer how to create new music through programming and algorithm.

Other tracks include:

  • Tabletop game design with Little
  • Human anatomy, Dr. Alexandra Hall, senior lecturer in the biology department. Campers will get an inside look at human anatomy, including their own cells, and will learn microscopy and staining techniques. Campers will be mailed a box of supplies.
  • 2D animation, with Jesse Woodward, lecturer in animation and digital media. Participants will produce 2D animation using industry-standard software. By the end, students will have produced an animation that will be featured online.
  • Video game design, Andrew Williams, associate professor in Bachelor of Fine Arts game design and development-art. Students will learn the end-to-end process of creating video games and the skills needed to bring them to life using the same techniques as the professional game designers.
  • Interior design, Shelley Pecha, professor and program director in interior design. Students will design a living space for their favorite celebrity and learn about project programming, the design process, space planning and creating a color palette. Campers will be mailed a box of supplies.

Scholarships for the entire cost of the camps are available to students in the Eau Claire, Menomonie and Eleva-Strum school districts. Six students who attend the Grantsburg school district qualify for the Parker-Hannifin Scholarship that covers the admission cost. To learn more about scholarships email profed@uwstout.edu.

Sponsors for the STEAM experiences include the Eau Claire and Menomonie school districts, Xcel Energy and Parker-Hannifin.

Cost of the STEAM experiences is $150.


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