July 22, 2013 at 7:51 PM
The Westfield Public School district initiated its first ever STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp in July to resounding response by the community. Initially conceived as a one-week experience, the camp was extended to two weeks to serve the overflow in enrollment.
“It has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to enjoy an awesome learning experience by integrating the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” stated Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Paul Pineiro. “While the activities are based in academic enrichment, the students have fun in a relaxed environment using their minds and hands to solve problems and tackle design challenges.”
Taught by Westfield teachers, the camp has been tailored for Westfield students entering grades 3 through 8 in September. More than 150 students participated in hands-on Robotics, Rocketry, Scratch Programming, Science Lab, Computer-Aided Design, and LEGO Engineering and Animation.
Incoming fourth grader Nick Deis especially liked experimenting with dry ice: “We checked the temperatures and the various degrees working with dry ice. We made fog bubbles out of it and put it in a balloon and watched the balloon get bigger.”
Sophie Kamenetsky, who will be entering fifth grade, provided her opinion on Robotics: “We programmed the robot to move in different directions, like in 90-degree angles. It was actually harder than I expected, but fun. I never dealt with robots. Maybe they will be here in the future in our society.”
Robotics teacher Sean Bonasera summed up the camp this way: “The kids are having a great time and learning through discovery.” Other teachers who were instrumental in developing and instructing the camp activities included Laura Paiva, Willa Schaeffer, Craig Adams, David Parke, Susan Marie Terra, Eileen Moran, Betsy Freeman and Julianne Doto.