Each year, the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives hosts themed camps throughout the summer for students of all ages. Camps are focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) topics to promote related career fields for children who might not have considered them otherwise. For the first time this year, a 1st and 2nd grade camp was available, which filled up weeks in advance.
At camp, students participate in hands-on, fun learning activities such as doing experiments or building rockets in an attempt to both instruct and recruit for other P-20 learning programs.
Destination: Discovery A two-week Destination: Discovery science camp allowed 4th and 5th graders to explore a variety of topics, such as making things glow in the dark, the myth of Pop Rocks candy with soda, slime and polymers, fizzing and foaming, layered liquids, the physics of paper airplanes and the perennial favorite challenge: designing a capsule to protect an egg from a four-story drop.
We dropped in on the young scientists as they designed catapults for a day of Marshmallow Mania. Students received materials to build the catapults and later, challenged each other in a contest to see who could launch their marshmallow the farthest.
P-20 was able to sponsor a robotics camp with iTEC, the Interactive Technology Experience Center from UTSA's College of Engineering, thanks to funding from Rackspace intended to offer more students the chance to experience iTEC. With those funds, 30 students were able to attend the camp for free.
At the one-week camp, 9th and 10th grade students built robots to perform specific tasks and later, had a face-off challenge in which the robots competed against each other.