Engineering camp introduces middle school students to STEM

Engineering middle school camp 2021

SUMMARY: JMU Engineering faculty and students host “Engineering a Better World” Camp for local middle school students.

By Haley Huchler, CISE student writer

Every Saturday from September 18 to October 9, faculty and students in the Department of Engineering hosted "Engineering a Better World," an experiential learning camp for local middle school students to expand their curiosity in engineering.

Each Saturday, engineering students planned a different hands-on learning activity for the campers – building paper airplanes, designing a structure to prevent a pumpkin from breaking when dropped, building a tower of toothpicks strong enough to bear the weight of a textbook, and creating a car out of water bottles.

"I think that one of our big goals was to show the hands-on [learning] aspects [of engineering]," says Jamie Whisman, engineering academic advisor and camp coordinator. "Our [engineering] program here at JMU is a lot of hands-on group projects. So through the camp, they [the campers] were able to get a little taste of that design process and see what our program is really about."

Each week, campers competed against each other to design the best solutions. Then, at the end of each day, they reflected on what they had learned. "A lot of this was just learning the design process and trying to make their design better through trial and error," said Whisman.

"It was rewarding to see the kids happy and watch them learn and get excited about STEM," said Andrew Sklavounos, a JMU engineering student who assisted with the camp.

JMU engineering student Colby Schneider, a member of Engineering Ambassadors, helped assist with the camp each weekend. Schneider has been involved in K-12 STEM outreach programs since his freshman year.

"We tell all the students that engineering is not only math and science," said Schneider. "It's much more than that. It's talking to people, it's helping people, and it's learning more about problems. That's what we want them [the campers] to take away from it."

See all of the engineering camp photos

Learn more about JMU's Engineering Program

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, October 28, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2021

Related Articles