Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12

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Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. Soars High With An Out of This World Week of "Space Explorers"
Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. Soars High With An Out of This World Week of "Space Explorers"

To Camp C.R.E.A.T.E.... any beyond! Throughout this past week at Camp C.R.E.A.T.E., campers have been working diligently as members of the transportation subdivision of NASA, and their goal was to create new and unique space crafts and rovers to travel to and around new planetary locations. Through the work of stop motion animation, LEGO robotics, aerospace engineering and LEGO building challenges, our Space Explorers put their minds to the test and developed ingenious new methods of exploring outer space!

On our first day of camp, the Space Explorers learned each other's names and their mission for the week and soon after got straight to work! Their first activity period was spent learning new technologies, such as Mindstorm for LEGO robotics and the Stop Motion Animator for their claymation projects. Our instructors Curtis and Joshua quickly had the Adventurers (K/1st) and Explorers (2/3rd) age group engaged in this new stop motion program while Cascades Academy's Robotics and Science teacher Paul Snape had his Expeditioners (4/5th) group jump right into their robotics programming. While at first all of the new technology may seem daunting, our campers got right into tinkering with it and figured out how it worked in a flash. We always enjoy putting campers in new situations in which they must do a bit of their own tinkering, as they excel as engineers and makers when learning how something works experientially. Campers were busy building LEGO robots and get small figurines to move through stop motion in no time!

After lunch each day, campers are offered a multitude of learning opportunities through a portion of camp called "Tinker Time". This allows our learners to dive more deeply into an aspect of the weekly theme they may be most interested in, learn new skills, and get imaginative in designing small, fun creations. Options such as the "Game Table" allowed campers of any age to learn about programming in robotics through unique board games such as Robot Turtles and Code Monkey Island, or campers could find themselves enwrapt in a fun LEGO robot building challenge, such as building a bridge that could take a group of astronauts successfully across a crater. Our two other options allowed campers to let their ideas soar high as they worked on aerospace engineering challenges, such as stomp and straw rockets, or build a solar-powered space rover that would take them across new planetary surfaces. This time of the day is always one of my favorites, as campers are allowed freedom in their learning experiences in choosing what they would like to do. Providing this independence in young learners is a big part of Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. in developing new thinkers, makers, and innovators.

As the week progressed, the Adventurers and Explorers constructed sets, clay figurines, and fun props, such as multicolored moon rocks, for their intergalactic explorations. The Expeditioners worked meticulously on their LEGO robot designs as they designed, tested, evaluated, and often redesigned based on their observations. Many campers learned this week about the engineering process as they designed new work and the importance (and frustration) that comes with imagining, planning, creating, and improving. Learning and being able to evaluate and redesign, while as daunting as it may seem, is indispensable, as this engineering process can be applied through so many areas of their futures. We aim to provide these learning opportunities as much as possible through our programs, as we know the impact that this growth mindset can have for these future makers.

We had such a wonderful week with the Space Explorers, and I was thrilled to see them all show off their creations on Friday afternoon! They all worked so hard throughout the week and produced several new and amazing designs. We thank you for having your child be a part of our program this week, and we hope to see you later this summer or next year for another fun week of learning!