Spring into Action with FLATE’s Summer Camps and Workshops!

Last month we talked about evaluation from a high level. With summer right around the corner, FLATE is
working hard getting ready for our summer programs for students and faculty.  One aspect of that is how our projects and activities impact student learning. We try to get a handle on this by administering a pre and post survey for all campers about some of their experiences with science, technology, engineering and math skills, and knowledge they will encounter during the camp as well as information about career pathways in manufacturing. We also survey parents after six months asking if their children’s interests change (for instance, more interested in STEM subjects and activities). It’s certainly challenging to get this information back with all of us very busy, however, every bit that we do get back helps to piece together an impact “story” of our student camp activities. For our professional development workshop, we ask teachers how, when and where they will be able to use the materials, resources and information in their classrooms as well as what they actually learned. Surveying participants and reviewing what they say are important parts of our evaluation and continuous improvement efforts (that I talked about last month).

This summer we have some big news for robot campers here at HCC Brandon. This year’s campers will get
to work with the brand new Lego EV3 robots. The new bots are built around the Intelligent EV3 Brick with a new, more powerful processor, and have additional sensors and a lot more capabilities. To be ready for the campers, FLATE’s camp instructors will be training later this spring. In addition to our summer robotics camp we are happy to announce that FLATE will partner with St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL, to offer two sessions of a “3D Printing SolidWorks camp for high school students that will focus on developing 3D modelling skills, rapid prototyping, metrology and finishing. More information about these camps will be available after March 17.  We are very excited to be adding this “additive manufacturing” opportunity to our camp portfolio. Finally, through a special partnership with the local school district, we will offer an energy focused camp to children in the local AVID program.

For teachers and educators, this summer’s professional development opportunities are growing every day. Shortly after school is out, we will be offering one/two-day workshops for advanced biology/biotechnology and another for programming LEGO robots. We will also be offering the   5th year of FLATE’s famous teacher camp which will focus on “Mainstreaming STEM” for three fun days. We have partnered with FACTE (Florida Association for Career and Technical Education) who will provide travel support for teachers to attend the robotics programming workshop; with Hillsborough County Schools and HCC for the biotech workshop and teacher camp. 

Later in the July we have partnered with FACTE again to offer our very successful “Recruiting Girls to
STEM careers” one-day workshop in conjunction with their annual conference which will be in Wesley Chapel. FLATE has arranged to bring an incredible opportunity for teachers the week of August 4-8. The Guitar Building Workshop (another great NSF ATE funded project) will be held at Erwin Technical Center, during which each teacher will build a guitar AND learn how to integrate STEM topics involved in guitars and music into their programs. (Teachers will get to keep their self-made guitars.) We are also working on setting up several one-day workshops for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) at different locations around the state.  You can find out more about each of these events on the home page of our website at www.fl-ate.org, where they are listed by date.

Certainly, we hope to simulate the minds and hearts of many teachers and students; help all make new connections between STEM topics and the real applications especially in manufacturing; and many to get hooked on manufacturing as the ultimate STEM experience. For now, enjoy this issue of the FLATE Focus which is draped with many stories about our curriculum, outreach and professional development efforts. Don’t forget this month’s sTEm puzzle! We’d love to hear from you, so send us your comments/thoughts about the articles and events.