Hannah Young, daughter of Tracy Young and a senior at Little Falls High School, assists the students with their summer STEAM project.

by Dave Warner

Tracy Young doesn’t stop during the summer, and she’s at it again in conjunction with the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts (MVCA) with a summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) program for students looking for something to do during the break.

Young had approached the MVCA with the idea and the board approved it, holding the first class in February, which was a success. “We had a pretty big turnout then, so we planned to do another one,” said Young.

In the summer camp, everything is about water and weather-related. There are two ages for the summer STEAM camp. The morning group is A through two and there are nine children in that class. The afternoon session is grades three through five and there are 23 children in that group.

“Yesterday they did a bucket challenge where they had to transfer water from one bucket to another using limited materials and one device that was no bigger than 3 inches by 3 inches. They had to use reusable materials as well,” she said.

“In today’s class, they are building a water slide that has to actually work with a little Lego figure. They have two figures that have to go down the slide and they have to work cooperatively, plan it out, sketch it and use the whole engineering design process they use during the school year,” stated Young.

Students have to use the materials available in the classroom after receiving ten minutes of instruction. According to Young, “they instantly went to work and they chose their own groups, so it was really nice.”

Young feels that the summer session is more relaxed than what they typically do during the school year and that multiple grade levels are involved. “It’s not kids that they’re with all the time,” she said. Different grade levels, different kids that aren’t in their regular classes and some kids that are out of the district. We have two of those, so it’s really nice to see that, even though it’s summertime, they want to be in here building things.”

Young has two helpers with her for the large group of students, Nora Lauritsen and her daughter Hanna. Nora is going into 9th grade, and Hanna will be entering the 12th in the fall.

Ava Jacquay, one of the students in the class described the project that she was working on “Basically, what we are going to do is make stairs going up, and then this tube is where they are going to drop right down. We made it colorful and vibrant so people are attracted to it. And we made sure that there would be no leakage. We have foam at the bottom, so the figures won’t hurt themselves.”

Young said that the last day of class on Friday will be a MakerSpace day for the students. That’s when they can build whatever they want from the materials she has in the classroom.

Another class is scheduled for August 12th through the 15th at the MVCA in Canal Place. If you are interested in more information, you can call 315-823-0808 or visit their website at http://www.mohawkvalleyarts.org/

Photo by Dave Warner – Tracy Young assists a student with one of his projects.