How do you get middle schoolers interested in math and science? Giving them some neat gadgets and real-life scenarios could do the trick.
Florida State University's Panama City campus hosted the sixth Summer STEM camp for rising eighth graders. "STEM" stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Students participated in problem-solving activities under the direction of STEM professionals from the community.
Jeff Feldstein, a project engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, was one of many instructors at this summer's STEM Camp. He's showed the students how to do things like rescue sea turtles with a robot.
"We try to give them real world scenarios that are a very close representative of things we may encounter in our actual engineering positions at the Navy Base," said Feldstein.
The students built and programmed Lego robots, which can be very challenging. But, the rising eighth and ninth graders were working hard without even realizing they're working.
"It can be enjoyable. It's not all work. It can be very enjoyable and fun to do," said Feldstein.
In another classroom at FSU-PC, retired engineer John Hansel was teaching students about rockets. However, after teaching the rocket class for the past five years, he's better known as "The Rocket Man."
The students cut and glued together rockets made from cardboard and empty drink bottles. It's actually a math and science lesson. However, it's deceiving because students were having fun but also using special math calculations.
The students also worked on solar lighting and looked at wildlife in the bay behind the college.
For more information on other grade levels, visit the STEM Institute website. The program also has two other weeks this summer. The week for rising 11th and 12 graders on July 8th through the 12th has space for interested students.