Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Gaddis IV, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
The STEM Showcase was the finale of the STEM camp “Camp Create” facilitated by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport (NUWC), Puget Sound Navy Museum (PSNM), USS Turner Joy, and SEA Discovery Center.
“This showcase is the combined effort of the STEM network,” said Megan Burton, Teen services librarian at Kitsap Regional Library. “Basically they designed a camp to be held at the library to spark an interest in STEM for kids, teens, and those in between [tweens].”
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
“The camp is known as ‘Camp Create’ (and) is a week long,” said Valerie Johnson, Educator at Naval Undersea Museum Keyport. “The first week was for the fifth and sixth graders followed by the seventh and eighth graders in the second week, each day there was a different institution providing STEM learning.”
The trial and error hands-on approach to teaching STEM is what makes the program unique, compared to the normal “teacher teach, student learn” form of learning.
“The way we do our classes is by facilitation,” said John Hanson, President of Bremerton Historic Ships Association. “The students conduct the projects, it’s completely hands on.”
During the Showcase, projects made by participants of the camp were out on display along with the tools to replicate the project. Visitors were given the opportunity to learn and experiment as the participants of the camp did.
“The way I see it is most of the jobs that our youth will be competing for doesn’t exist yet,” said Burton. “STEM prepares our youth for creating the unknown.”
Visitors witnessed the future through STEM and were given the chance to help cultivate a strong future through STEM.
“We have gone to Harbor Fest [a festival held at the marina full of activities] the past couple of years and my grandchildren seemed very interested in learning,” said Sharon Wasson, grandmother of STEM participants. “I hope that the STEM program has helped cultivate the spark I saw in their eyes during the festival.”
Even though the showcase concluded, the STEM program continues and next summer another camp is slated to be available.
“I hope this gives them excitement to conduct and study science, technology, engineering and mathematics and also opens their minds to the U.S. Navy,” said Hanson.
For more information on STEM and events, visit http://www.westsoundstem.org/