Date: April 6, 2011
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
Students Mix Art with Science in STEM Summer Camp @ PNC
Students from the Michigan City Parks and Recreation Department enjoy creating their own sculptures during the "From the Ground Up or the Sky Down" activities offered as part of the Purdue University North Central Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Camp.
Westville – The 120 area students taking part in the Purdue University North Central STEM Summer Camp @ PNC, 2012 are gaining a first-hand look at how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (the STEM disciplines) are vital to their lives and a fundamental component of most everything they do.
The five-week camp brings young people, ages six to 12, to 15 to the PNC campus as part of the summer programming for the La Porte County Coalition of Youth Serving Agencies (YSA) including Imagination Station, Boys and Girls Club, Michigan City Parks and Recreation, Safe Harbor, Barker Woods and North Central Community Action Agencies in Michigan City. Camp is underwritten in part by Michigan City Enrichment Corp.
Each group traveled to PNC one morning a week for five weeks, with each week featuring a different theme exploring a different aspect of the STEM disciplines. With the entire PNC campus serving as a classroom, PNC faculty, staff and local professionals serve as instructors, presenting age-appropriate learning activities for the students. For many, the camp presented their first opportunity to visit to a college campus.
The camp draws to a close this week with the activity, “From the Ground Up or the Sky Down” with local artist and teacher Nancy Saxon. NIPSCO is sponsoring this week's activities.
“I believe art provides a perfect learning platform for STEM concepts,” noted Saxon.
Saxon opened “From the Ground Up or the Sky Down” with a tour of the PNC campus to study its many large-scale sculptures and to analyze and discover what makes a sculpture visually balanced. Following this, the students are asked to apply their knowledge to create an individual work of sculpture.
Saxon explained that during this process the students combine imagination with engineering while choosing to create their sculpture from items such as wooden dowels, rocks, blocks, twine, wire and cardboard. The young artists will learn about structure as they consider how placing and connecting assorted materials will allow a lasting visually interesting composition.
“There are countless lessons to be learned in this project,” noted Saxon. “Students test their own ideas in a group setting so that everyone learns from each other while they create totally individual works of art or science.”
Saxon also thanked NIPSCO for its sponsorship. “I would like the community to know that this program would not be possible without the involvement of NIPSCO. Its contribution provides an exceptional week of learning by highly qualified instructors on a college campus. Learning experiences such as these change lives. Thanks to NIPSCO, dozens of children will have the opportunity to experience something wonderful.”
The camp curricula also featured:
Dr. Kumara Jayasuriya, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and associate professor of Mathematics, leading campers on an exploration of math.
Dr. David Pratt, associate professor of Education, teaching how helpful computers can be at providing virtual experiences to teach physics principles of the real world.
Dr. Joseph Schroer, assistant professor of Education, leading students in a fascinating examination of potential and kinetic energy while building different types of twisting and turning rollercoasters.
Joan Wisniewski, Potawatomi Audubon Society president and other members, introducing students to the eagle.