STEM Opportunities at Maine Camps!
February 19, 2019, by Jake
STEM Opportunities at Maine Camps!
February 19, 2019, by Jake

In today’s world, having an understanding of science and technology is more important than ever, and kids are well served to familiarize themselves with these areas. Of course, camp is a time to take a break from school, not to mention a break from technology, and campers at Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps don’t spend their days in a classroom listening to lectures – but MCE camps do offer fun, hands-on ways for kids to learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) throughout their Maine summers!

There are some traditional camp activities that have been exposing kids to STEM for decades in Maine. For example, the MCE Camp I work at has a photography program where kids learn to take and develop film photos. Campers learn all about dark-room development, including the chemical reactions needed to develop photos, while capturing incredible memories throughout their summers. Another favorite activity at many MCE camps is rocketry – by carefully designing and then launching rockets, kids are learning about the physics required to make their shuttle fly straight, and the chemical reactions that propel them into the air.

And although most MCE camps don’t allow campers to access personal technology like cellphones, they do familiarize kids with certain technologies throughout their regular program. While my MCE camp still has a film-photography program, other camps offer digital photography and videography programs that allow kids to get hands-on with high-end equipment. In these programs, kids get hands-on with cameras and video cameras, and also learn how to use the photo and video editing and production software that help them create a finished product. As an MCE camper many years ago, one of my favorite activities was Radio, where we had an opportunity to DJ on camp’s radio station, using the mixers to fade songs in and out, and microphones to announce what came next. Some MCE camps today have taken things a step further, and offer access to great recording technology that kids can use to record their own music!

At other MCE camps, STEM activities are intentionally incorporated in formal ways in order to teach kids in a fun and exciting environment. At one MCE camp, they dedicated time during staff orientation to understanding how science could be taught during everyday periods – from talking about launch-angle in baseball, to the physics of body movement when swimming or kayaking. This camp also has a telescope that campers are welcome to use during the evenings to learn about and appreciate the astronomy that is so visible on clear Maine nights.

Another MCE camp started by implementing Reach, U.S. Sailing’s STEM Education Initiative, during a small craft period. Campers learned to build model boats out of clay, and tested their buoyancy by seeing how many marbles their boat could keep afloat. Campers then designed and built boats out of nothing but cardboard and duct tape, and raced them across the swimming lanes in an exciting competition. This activity was such a hit, that this MCE camp is introducing a full-blown STEM activity this summer! Campers will build their own anemometers (wind-measuring instruments), sails to use with the camp sailboats, and cardboard boats for more exciting races!

Camp is a place that helps kids grow – they grow as individuals, friends, and members of the community, but they also grow intellectually! With access to great activities that teach kids about STEM in fun and exciting ways, MCE camps not only provide kids with the best summers of their lives, but also give them the STEM skills that will help them succeed well beyond their summers in Maine.

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitudeon our Memories of Camp section of our website.

Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child?  Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks).  It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates.  Then you can research these camps in more depth.

Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.

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