STEAM Camp

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COLUMBIA - Students in Columbia will have a chance this week to work on skills in a variety of areas at the second annual STEAM Camp.

The camp, held by Columbia College, takes the better known "STEM" acronym - which stands for science, technology, engineering and math - and adds art to the mix. The camp builds on itself throughout the week, meaning students will take something from each day and incorporate it into the next.

The students will get access to numerous unique opportunities. They will start at Jefferson Middle School working through different art and mathematics exercises creating sculptures and looking into three dimensional shapes. Next, they will get the chance to work with the tech company, 'Gravity', taking their sculptures and making them interactive with LED lights. Finally, they will head to EAG Laboratories, where the campers will work hands-on in the lab with local scientists.  

EAG Laboratories Senior Manager Dana Craig said she thinks tying all of these disciplines together is important.

"I think what it shows children is that if you choose to be a scientist, or a mathematician, or an artist, some of the other parts of the world are going to interact with what you do everyday," she said.

Columbia College Art Instructor Lee Stanton said she can't wait to see the final products.

"I'm excited to see the students take what they learn and sculpt with me, and how it changes and evolves throughout the week," she said.

'Gravity' owner Jonathan Sessions, who is also a member of the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education, said getting the students involved early on is important.

"It's about finding that engagement at an early age and making sure that students know that these fields exist before they get to high school,” he said.

The camp features 35 students, some of whom are returning from last year. 

STEAM Director and Columbia College Math Instructor Ann Schlemper said she tries to make something new each year.

"We make a new curriculum and theme each year because we want students to come back and have the opportunity to learn new things," she said. 

This year the camp is focusing on "color" as its theme.  The camp runs Monday through Friday and upon its conclusion, the students final sculptures will be on display at the Roots N Blues festival in late September.

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