STEM Summer Camp Empowers Florida Virtual School Students to Explore Future Careers
Robots, virtual reality, video games, flight simulators. Do these grab your attention?? Recently, a group of our middle and high school students attended a week-long science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer camp at DoD STARBASE Central Florida, where they explored the exciting world of modeling, simulation, and training.
During the STEM camp, our students explored cutting-edge technologies at DoD STARBASE Central Florida. They explored flight simulators, virtual reality gaming systems, an interactive augmented reality human anatomy display, an Army augmented reality topography sandbox, and even got up close and personal with Boston Dynamics’ Spot—the agile mobile robot. They also used 3D modeling to create and bring their own video games to life. Talk about the future of technology right at your fingertips!
The camp gave our students authentic learning experiences to help them in their future careers or higher education. But it wasn’t all about the technical stuff. Our students could also collaborate with their learning, making friends, and learning with their peers.
“I was nervous the first day,” said Fatima Khan, a homeschool Flex 10th-grade student, “but as the camp went on, I became more and more excited. Since I attend school from home, I miss the interactions with fellow students. At camp, everyone has been so nice, and it’s been really fun working with other students.”
FLVS Foundation Support
The STEM camp was initiated from a grant secured by the FLVS Foundation, the philanthropic organization of Florida Virtual School. FLVS Foundation invests resources to support high-quality, technology-based education that provides the skills and knowledge our students need to succeed. This five-day camp was designed to give FLVS students a chance to engage in “hands-on, minds-on” learning experiences in technology, innovation, and STEM as a way to explore their passions and find creative ways to make a difference.
Beth Brunner, the FLVS Foundation Manager, said, “We want to challenge our students’ perceptions of STEM careers and inspire them to think outside the box. STEM opportunities are found in diverse fields such as fashion design, illustration, or culinary arts. The lab offers an enjoyable experience for our students, allowing them to unlock their true potential in various STEM subjects.”
Exploring the World of STEM
Throughout the week, our students took on some mind-blowing projects. They experimented with polymer crystals to create bouncy balls with incredible elastic energy and used online modeling platforms to bring their balls to life in 3D. Finally, they incorporated their bouncy balls into a video game to show how they would interact with different types of matter.
FLVS Full Time 10th-grade student Jose Paez shared his excitement, “Learning how to create and program video games has been an incredibly fun experience. It’s all new to me, and I’ve never done anything like this.” We love seeing our students like Jose diving headfirst into the world of STEM and discovering new passions and talents along the way.
The camp ended with a “Game Jam” where students presented their games. Their peers and parents were the judges, determining the winner based on the game’s potential for future sales.
Cutting-Edge Technology At Your Fingertips
The Truist Foundation generously funded STEM-specific laptops for each student to use during and after the camp. These laptops had extra capabilities for exploring 3D modeling programs. Talk about taking your skills to the next level!
Sabrina Edwards, FLVS Assistant Principal, enthusiastically volunteered at the camp to interact with students face-to-face and step away from her usual computer screen view. She remarked, “STEM camp has been a tremendous opportunity for our students. I wish I had something like this when I was younger!”
Future STEM Opportunities
Our students also learned about the technology-related online clubs at Florida Virtual School. These clubs are already doing incredible work and are looking forward to future opportunities to collaborate with DoD STARBASE Central Florida.
Lindsey Spalding, the director of DoD STARBASE Central Florida, had the incredible task of overseeing all the camp’s day-to-day activities. She shared her excitement, saying, “Witnessing the students’ enthusiasm and curiosity is truly inspiring. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Florida Virtual School and nurturing the next generation of STEM leaders.”
This was our first year partnering with FLVS to develop this STEM Camp, and we hope to continue providing FLVS students with this dynamic learning opportunity in the future. Stay tuned for upcoming news via our social media channels and blog.
These organizations are passionate about empowering students like you to pursue your dreams and make a difference in the world. You could be the next STEM leader, designing incredible video games or revolutionizing the world with your innovations.
Keep exploring, keep dreaming, and remember that STEM is cool, awesome, and totally within your reach. The future is yours!