Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math: Welcome to STEAM Camp

Forty elementary students spend two days learning through hands-on activities.

“Hey dude, I need a marble,” Emmett Samson said as he readied his paper rollercoaster for the ultimate test. The fourth-grader placed the small ball at the top and let it roll. Not overly pleased with the result, he started to rework his coaster, adjusting the corners and height of the initial drop.

Emmett Samson rolls a marble down his paper roller coaster.

Samson was among 40 first- through sixth-graders students who attended a two-day STEAM Camp this week hosted by the Lost River High School Robotics Club. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Projects included Newton’s Law puzzles, T-shirt tie-dying, bubble painting, birdhouse building, and robot soccer.

Lost River STEAM Camp director Laurie Ross helps Macee Thompson with her paper roller coaster.

STEAM Camp is the Lost River Robotics Club’s biggest annual fundraiser. Laurie Ross, an English teacher and Lost River’s Robotics coach, has organized and headed the STEAM camp for the past four years. This spring, Lost River’s Robotics Team 9391D — Lucy Huizar, Aaron Reyes, Anabelle Ross, Ronaldo Leon Cobian, Karla Hernandez, and Johan Ayala — earned a berth at the Create US National VEX Robotics Tournament in Council
Bluffs, Iowa.

Ross said she started the camp to provide an opportunity for Malin and Merrill area students to participate in science and art activities without having to travel into Klamath Falls. Each year, she offers different activities since many of her campers come every summer.

A Lost River Robotics Team member shows two campers who to work the controls on the robot.

Annabelle Ross, a sophomore and Lost River Robotics Club member, was among about 20 high schoolers helping out Thursday. She attended STEAM Camp as a sixth-grader and joined the high school robotics team last fall as a freshman.

STEAM camp introduces younger students to problem-solving and creative thinking. Campers, for example, spend an hour solving logic puzzles to unlock locks and break into boxes that contained prizes.

The two-day camp culminated in games of “robot soccer.” Campers took turns controlling robots, built and programmed by Lost River Robotics Club members, to maneuver a ball into a goal.

“These activities get them interested in science and robotics early on,” Annabelle Ross said. “They learn how to problem solve, how to build things.”

A camper paints a birdhouse she built during Lost River’s STEAM Camp.

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