Area Youth Participate in STEAM Summer Camp @ PNC, 2014


PNC STEAM Camp members with their completed sculptures during PNC STEAM Camp. Art activities sponsored by NIPSCO.

Two campers psoing with their works in progress

Two proud sculptors posing with their work in progress during PNC STEAM Camp. Art activities sponsored by NIPSCO.

Barker Woods campers pose with their finished artwork.

Barker Woods campers pose with their finished artwork during PNC STEAM Camp. Art activities sponsored by NIPSCO.

Purdue University North Central is hosting a six-week STEAM Summer Camp @ PNC, 2014 for area young people at its Westville campus through July 25. The camp emphasizes activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) disciplines and introduces students to the university campus as they take part in age-appropriate learning with PNC faculty, staff and local professionals as their instructors.

The young people, ages six to 12, are enrolled in one of the La Porte County Coalition of Youth Serving Agencies (YSA) including Imagination Station, Barker Woods, Boys and Girls Club, Michigan City Parks and Recreation, Safe Harbor and North Central Community Action Agencies (NCCAA). The camp’s primary underwriter is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant.

Indoor and outdoor activities keep these youth mentally and physically engaged for their time on campus with about 40 students coming to camp each day and up to 160 children spending one morning a week at PNC for six weeks. During the remaining hours, they will participate in activities offered by their youth programs.

The camp learning activities include:

“Kids Gone Wild – Camp Audubon” presented by the Potawatomi Audubon Society. Campers developed their observation skills as they looked at the natural world. After being introduced to what they may see in the natural world, they set out on a scavenger hunt to find pre-placed items along the trail in the woods at PNC. They worked together to find things such as bird nests, deer antlers and bones, turtle shells and snake skin. Along the way, there were stations set up to observe and identify animal tracks and listen to a related story.

The youngsters made a lanyard, decorated it with gourds and beads and then drew pictures of what they observed on the gourd.

“Forensics” with Charles A. Steele, PNC Limited Term Lecturer in Physics and president of Aneval Inc. Participants heard the story of a break-in. They collected and analyzed evidence to determine which of three suspects (if any) is the thief.

To solve the crime, the campers evaluated the crime scene, recorded it and decided what to collect and process. Tools which may have been used in the crime, were evaluated and the campers made clay impressions to see which could have made a mark left at the scene. They also studied and compared fingerprints. Based on this evidence, each group presented a theory of the case.

“Creating Sculpture” led by Marie Foster, PNC interim director of Development. A former secondary art teacher, Foster used her 3-dimensional art skills and expertise in art history to give students the opportunity to create a sculpture from objects found in Northwest Indiana manufacturing. Campers learned about sculptor Louise Nevelson, known for her monumental monochromatic sculptures.

The children will work in small groups to create a sculpture with boxes they brought in and these individual pieces will be joined together to make one large sculpture. Foster will spray paint the final products and return it to each participating agency for the youngsters to enjoy.

This week is partly sponsored by NIPSCO.

Dr. David Pratt, PNC associate professor of Education, with “Fun Physics in the Park!” Students will work with computers as they learn about the physics that go in to experiences they enjoy at the skate park, amusement park or water park. They will be introduced to the physics behind these park activities as they create models of their own roller coasters. They will experiment with a computer simulation to help them understand the physics necessary for creating the best possible design.

Dr. Aaron Warren, PNC associate professor of Physics, with “The Science of Everything!” Using virtual physics simulations, participants will observe fun, real-life demonstrations that illustrate some of the basic properties of the universe. Energy, momentum, angular momentum, mechanical waves and electromagnetism will all be highlighted. Younger participants will focus on the descriptive aspects of each activity, while older participants engage in varying levels of mathematical modeling.

Jerry DeGroot, PNC continuing lecturer in Mathematics, with “Math, Games and Puzzles” presents math concepts in a fun, entertaining format to help campers understand math concepts that they can use every day.

Enrollment for this camp session is closed. Further information can be obtained by contacting Liz Bernel, PNC coordinator of Special Events and Marketing at 785-5200,

ext. 5719 or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Bernel.