Next week, 220 middle and high school students will begin this year's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Summer Camp, put on at Florida State University Panama City by the Naval Surface Warfare Center. But before the students come in, the teachers get a hands-on lesson on energy, which is this year's camp theme.
Students are taking their break for the summer, and now it's the teacher's turn to learn as they wrap up this week's Teacher STEM Camp put on at FSU-PC.
"I'm so out of my comfort zone because my background is mostly biology and microbiology, but this is just awesome. I am learning things that I never even imagined," said 5th grade Vernon Middle School teacher, Deborah Schoen.
Schoen's spark for science is reigniting with the programming of robots.
"I'm such a visual learner and if I were to read this, I would be asleep right now, but seeing this and actually be able to do it just makes it come alive and if I can take this and show this to my kids, ‘Look what I did in the summer time!' They will just go into a riot," Schoen said.
"That's the ultimate goal of the whole camp is to provide teachers with new materials to work with, new ways of looking at problem solving and construction. So they can take that back into the classroom," said NSWC Liaison and STEM Camp Coordinator, Ed Linsenmeyer.
And these teachers are learning construction this year at a new area of the camp…building a solar powered LED light from scratch.
"I've had to learn a lot of things. I never had to solder before, we're making a circuit board, so our job is to learn enough so that we can be better teachers to the students," said Maggie Odom, 4th grade Parker Elementary School Teacher.
Also new to the camp this year is the addition of elementary school teachers with goal of sparking an interest in the STEM subjects at the lower grade levels.
"Start them early. Why not? Get them interested in science to hopefully hook them quicker," said Parker Science Teacher, Brandon Mullins.
And who knows, inside the teacher's classrooms come August, could be the next Nobel Prize Winner.
Next week starts the STEM camp for rising 8th graders and the following week for the 9th graders.