Full STEAM Ahead: Summer Camp Helps Keep Students’ Skills Sharp

Inside Maumee Summer Camp, (from left) Emily Lin, Jovie Wiederhold and Bri Hawkins enjoy their time building mazes with straws, tape and paper plates. STEAM projects are a big part of the summer camp, which invites students in kindergarten through fifth grade to Maumee Intermediate School for two sessions throughout the summer. Approximately 215 students signed up to participate in the program, which brought the students to the Imagination Station and the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Ohio. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — School might be out for the summer, but Maumee Intermediate School was full of kindergarten through fifth-grade students in June.

The Maumee Summer Camp hosted approximately 215 young students to reinforce math and reading skills and focus on hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities during two different camp sessions.

The camp invited students who might need intervention in certain areas, like reading, and encouraged other students to join, too.

Without a summertime focus on enhancing those skills, many students can see a dip in their progress at the beginning of the next school year. Finding ways to curb that dip and allowing students to excel in the classroom are important district goals.

“Students participate in daily math and reading lessons provided by the teacher and through daily online practices,” said camp director Stacey Snyder. “Teachers use summer lessons provided by our Bridges Math Curriculum as well as phonics lessons.”

Tailoring the lessons to students’ skills and grade levels ensures they improve their skills throughout the summer.

In addition to the curriculum, the students participate in daily STEAM lessons, with many of the activities following a theme.

“Session one’s theme was engineering, and session two’s was space,” Snyder said. “Teachers have opportunities to design their own projects related to these themes.”

Using “camp in a box kits,” which were full of materials and lessons already prepped, the students had several different opportunities to keep them busy and entertained.

Students, however, didn’t stay in the classroom the whole camp. One trip was taken during each session.

During a visit to the Imagination Station, students enjoyed hands-on activities relating to engineering and building.

A visit to the Challenger Center met the second session’s space theme, allowing the incoming fifth- and sixth-grade students to participate in a simulated space mission.

“We try to provide extension activities to all students who attend our summer camps,” Snyder said. “Taking students outside the classroom provides an experience that we may not be able to give them in school.” 

Even at the school, the camp was able to provide a unique experience to the students when Toledo Zoo employees stopped by for a visit.

Across the district, students have been growing familiar with urban prairies, so zoo staff members provided more activities related to the spaces.

“The zoo employees are able to provide activities from a different point of view than our teachers do,” Snyder said. “Students really enjoy all of the different extension activities that we provide at summer camp.”

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