SOE Hosts Second Year of STEM+ Camp for Fifth Graders

Spring 2024

May 30, 2024
Campers and camp leaders watch a rocket launch at the Mayborn Museum

Up, up and away — Camp leaders and students watch as they launch their rockets. Mayborn Museum’s Alan Small helped the fifth graders learn all about rockets.

The School of Education is hosting the second year of STEM+ Camp Launch, a week-long day camp focused on rocket science, for rising fifth graders from three Transformation Waco schools. Co-founded last year by Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, associate dean and associate professor of science education, and Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor of mathematics education, the program is funded by a grant from Waco’s Cooper Foundation and held at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum.

During the camp, students learn about scientific principles through projects like building and racing model cars. At the end of the week, each student gets to launch a rocket they built.

Nesmith said research conducted through student surveys last year showed the camp accomplished its goal of improving students’ confidence and efficacy in STEM subjects.

“The survey poses a series of ‘I am able to…’ questions,” Nesmith explained. “Students’ attitudes toward the STEM categories all increased from the first to the last day of camp, with a statistically significant increase in mathematics.”

The STEM subjects comprise science, technology, engineering, and math, and the “+” indicates the inclusion of art. The artwork that students create throughout the week is showcased at Family Night, where there is also a rocket launch.

STEM+ Camp Launch hosts students from Brook Avenue, Alta Vista and J.H. Hines school, with parents able to choose from two different sessions. Transformation Waco supports the camp by providing student transportation, lunches, and staff support.