During the school year, Susan Nash was offered the opportunity for 10 to 15 of her 4th-grade science students to participate in the Virtual STEM Maker Camp provided by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) and Engage Learning Oklahoma. She teaches in a pod with two other teachers, and so she has a total of three science and social studies classes.
This past school year, she taught 66 students—far more than the program’s expected group size. There was no way she could limit participation to only a few; all students should have the same chance to learn new concepts and skills. Neither did she want her students to miss this opportunity. She reached out to the distance learning lead at Engage Learning Oklahoma to see if there was any way they could arrange for all 66 science students to participate, even if it meant altering the delivery of the program so that it would fit her classes’ unique needs. Fortunately, Engage Learning Oklahoma and the OERB were willing to accommodate them, and together they made a schedule so that each of her three classes could join in on the virtual camp. For most of her students, the camp was the first time they were exposed to coding, circuit and 3D design, using equipment such as Snap Circuits, Makey and Squishy Circuits to explore energy concepts.
Thanks to the Virtual STEM Maker Camp—and some quick and flexible thinking to make it work for her classes—she has students interested in coding, game design and other computer program applications, with many saying they would continue to explore these skills even after the school year ended.