GV Regional Math and Science Center host summer STEM camps


Courtesy / GVSU

Kylie Elwell

The Grand Valley State University Regional Math and Science Center recently announced that they will be hosting multiple summer STEM camps for elementary and middle school students in the West Michigan Area. The three camps offered by them this summer will be: Camp Invention, Energizing Our World (EOW), and Summer Health Activities and Professions Exploration (sHaPe). 

For 2021, the camps will be offered in a remote format for students who are participating in the camps. This allows GVSU to offer camps to more students around West Michigan and also creates a safe and flexible learning experience for them. They are planning on using a HUB idea, where some of the students will be in person together outside of GVSU. They may work together in local libraries, schools, etc. Students will be able to be in person and experience hands-on activities together in a socially distanced environment. This is a new aspect of the camp that they are trying this year with their partners. 

Kris Pachla, Director of the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center said, “This summer we made the decision to go to a fully remote format again. We ran them remote last year and we’re running them remote again this year. Part of it is planning logistics, it’s difficult for us to ensure in-person learning because we don’t know when the campus is going to be opening back open to visitors. The other thing is that we actually had really good success last summer running our camps remotely and there is some pretty good promise that we are allowing as many students as possible to access these summer learning opportunities.”

Camp Invention is a new camp that is being offered this year by the university, it will be offered to grades K-6 completely remote in June. This camp is invention-focused and in partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, they designed this program for students and the university provided the space to run the program. Students will go through four different modules that are all focused on inventors that are in the Hall of Fame. They will then design solutions to problems and create new inventions based on what they learn. 

The Energizing Our World camp will be offered for the fourth summer in a row by the Math and Science Center. This camp is offered to rising 7th and 8th-grade students, this camp is designed to expose students to learn about energy, energy sources, renewable energy, sustainability, and more. This camp is in partnership with the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, which is an arm of NASA and the Consumers Energy Grant. They pitch these ideas and solutions to a panel at the end of the week and receive feedback from business partners, faculty, and parents. 

The last camp being offered is their sHaPe camp, this camp is one they have been offering to students for the longest time. The goal of this program is to introduce 7th and 8th-grade students to different careers in health professions. It also provides students with education on how to live healthy lifestyles. Faculty members provide them with many different health professions and learn about what it means to go into this career. This camp is in partnership with Meijer and Mercy Health, who both partially fund the work. 

“We are very fortunate that we have some great donors and some great grants that support this work. We are able to send students learning kits for each of our camps that they get to explore and keep after the camps. They can not only use this when they are learning and engaging in the camps, but they can continue to use them after the camps are over,” Pachla said.

All three of these camps will be offered free of cost to students that participate due to the generous donors of the Regional Math and Science Center.