Growing the Engineers of Tomorrow

School of Professional & Continuing Education (SPCE)

JMU’s School of Professional & Continuing Education Youth Programs had another busy and successful summer! Seventeen camps were offered for rising K – 12th graders during a nine-week period. Camps consisted of half day,Mohamed Serry full day, and week-long residential programs. In total, 490 students attended our busiest summer to date! In early spring, while preparing for the summer, the Youth Programs team received several requests for another STEM summer camp offering, specifically one with an engineering focus. The Youth Programs Coordinator, Rae Vaughn, had just the person in mind to run an engineering camp- a graduate student by the name of Mohamed Serry whom she had met a few months prior at Quad Fest. Mohamed had several years of experience running STEM programs in Egypt. After discussing some potential ideas for a new engineering camp, the two came up with the idea of offering a two-part camp called “Monuments and Machines: Engineering for Kids”. The full-day camp would consist of learning about “Monuments around the World” in the mornings and “Rube Goldberg Machines” in the afternoons. Registration was opened, and the camp filled within two days!



Before long, August was here, and it was time for the camp to start. Students began each day by learning about a famous piece of architecture from around the world as well as the culture that surrounded the architecture, and then they constructed their very own version of it. The students even listened to music from the culture they were learning about while constructing their monuments! Monuments included pyramids, the Sphinx, the Zeus Temple, the Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State Building. After lunch, they broke into teams to build their own Rube Goldberg machines to complete a simple task that was given to them. The Rube Goldberg machines were attached to the walls and consisted of paper towel tubes, craft sticks, and anything else the students could think of. At the end of the week, the students displayed a gallery of their work (both monuments and machines) for parents to tour.


When asked what he enjoyed the most about the camp, Mohamed responded, "I really enjoyed every part of the camp, from introducing campers to a different monument every day, to discussing design concepts behind these monuments, to actually building models that showed the concepts we discussed, all while giving every team the space to innovate a bit in their model. I also enjoyed working on the Rube Goldberg systems as well. The best memory for me was seeing the final projects every day, and how each one had its unique taste in a way. We also managed to build two giant domes that were big enough to fit the campers inside. It was during the last day of the camp and was the best way to celebrate reaching the end of a great week!"



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Published: Monday, October 10, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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