FLATE’s Summer Camps Make for a STEMtastic Summer!

If it’s summer, it’s time to enroll in one of the hottest STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics) based camps offered in the region. FLATE is offering several camps for middle and high school students that explores STEM-related topics and their relation to robotics, automation and alternative energy. The robotics camps will be held in Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, and are designed to introduce middle and high school students to the world of robotics, and explore its applications in both industrial and personal settings.

Camp season kicks into top gear with “Girls Only” introductory level camp from June 18-22. FLATE will also offer an additional week-long introductory camp from June 25-29 for middle school boys and girls. The industrial camp for high school students is scheduled for July 9-13, with the final advanced level camp for middle school students scheduled from July 16-20. The middle school camp consists of incoming 6-8th graders. The high school camp is designed for incoming freshmen to high school seniors. Cost for each, week-long camp is $150.

During this exciting program, students will learn how to reconfigure LEGO MINDSTORMS Robots, and program them to follow specific commands. Campers will be part of several robotic team challenges, explore design techniques, and learn how to produce prototype parts using 3D printers. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says the summer camps are a regional favorite, and have become FLATE’s staple summer offering. The camps capture the interest of middle and high school students by following the current trend of robotic applications used throughout the entertainment media.

The curriculum is a mixture of Lego educational materials that are integrated with Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) subjects and modern manufacturing, and are conducted in a competitive problem solving environment. Campers also develop a knowledge base of modern manufacturing, robotics design and programming while adding to team building experiences. “In particular, FLATE and HCC are reaching out to girls to continue to build their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” Barger said.

In addition to the robotics camps, FLATE is offering an energy based camp which runs concurrently with the high school industrial camp from July 9-12. During the camp, 25 students from Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, currently enrolled in Hillsborough County’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, will learn about renewable energy technologies. Students will engage in hands-on activities that will introduce them to energy concepts including fossil fuels, their environmental impact, and the science of electricity generation. They will also learn about solar cells, solar thermal energy, wind energy, environmental care, fuel-cells, home efficiency and ocean energy. Nina Stokes, camp coordinator and project manager for FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) says "the camps focus on fun, yet challenging, hands-on activities that enable students to make real-life connections to world of renewable energy technologies.”

Indeed, FLATE’s energy camp is part of a network of energy camps being offered simultaneously at Tallahassee Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Brevard Community College. They are made possible through a partnership between FLATE and FESC which is a consortium of Florida universities established by the Florida Legislature. FLATE and FESC are also working in collaboration with the National Science Foundation-funded Energy Systems Technology Technicians (EST²) project team to design a new specialization for the engineering technology degree and associated college credit certificate. “As the production of renewable energy continues to grow, camps like this help educate tomorrow’s citizens about issues that will directly impact them/their environment in the future" Stokes said.

For more in-depth information on FLATE’s camps visit www.fl-ate.org/projects/camps.html, and www.madeinflorida.org. To enroll in the robotics camp contact Desh Bagley, camp director at camps@fl-ate.org. For information on the energy camp contact Nina Stokes at stokes@fl-ate.org, or visit FLATER’s press room.