PARSONS, WV – Recently, a Tucker County school bus pulled into the parking lot at YLA Camp Horseshoe with nearly 40 Tucker County students excited to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The STEM Academy at Horseshoe, a day camp running through July 16 to July 20 supported by a partnership with Tucker County Schools, is about providing real-world learning opportunities.
“The book, worksheet, and lecture style of teaching isn’t always the best way to learn,” said Kristy Fisher, a STEM Academy instructor from Jefferson County, “we’re focused on Tucker County kids learning in an interactive way”
On the first day of STEM Academy, renowned local craftsman Mark Warner of Leadmine demonstrated and had students experiment with his handmade bicycle-powered generator. Students visualized and measured the difference in efficiency between a variety of light bulbs based on how hard students peddled.
Matt Collier, a STEM instructor from Berkeley County, led STEM Academy in the construction of hot air balloons with tissue paper and popsicle sticks. “There’s no better way to learn geometry than to build something with geometry,” he said.
Dale Watring, a native of Leadmine, spoke Wednesday afternoon on his life in STEM fields. “I spent a couple of summers at Horseshoe. The folks here pushed me to go to college and that experience launched a 13 year NASA career,” he said. Watring brought along several solar cells and pieces of space shuttle equipment to lead the campers through hands-on engineering activities.
Aside from STEM concepts and hands-on learning, STEM Academy campers have a chance to enjoy Horseshoe. “I’m excited to have nearly 40 Tucker County kids here at Horseshoe,” said interim camp director Kelley Bunner. “From swimming in the pool to homecooked family-style meals, STEM Academy campers get the Horseshoe experience and I couldn’t be prouder of that.”