STEAM Camps Switch Gears For Remote Summer

May 27, 2020

Plans changed for many kids this summer, but some camps are trying to adapt.

Jeremy Benson is the NIU STEAM Camp Director. He says that the most important part of the virtual camp experience is maintaining a hands-on aspect.

“We really wanted to make sure this wasn’t strictly tied to the computer [so that] it wasn’t more of what the kids have already been doing for two months,” Benson said.

Connie Kuntz

The Discovery Center is a children's science museum in Rockford. Because of the pandemic, the museum has been closed to the public for several weeks, but that hasn't stopped staffers from showing kids how to have a good time while learning.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Since March, the Discovery Center scientists have been creating and providing online STEAM-based learning content for young scientists and their families. Marketing Director Ann Marie Walker says the digital demonstrations are free and fun.

Peter Medlin

A group of teachers hold their phone in front of their faces. Using the camera they’re looking at the classroom they’re standing in...when suddenly a zombie appears. It warns they need to reach a safe house or they’ll be eaten alive.



 With that they face a series of locked doors. To open them and escape the undead’s grasp, they need to answer a series of vocabulary questions. Wait, what?


Peter Medlin

This week, a really special episode we've been excited about for a while. It’s a conversation with Dick Hart. He’s an 89-year-old retired choral teacher at Downers Grove North High School. He also played trombone in the Army band when he served during Korean War. Dick talked to Peter about all of that, his motto "music is life" and so much more.

Also on the show, a trip to the STEAM Academy at Haskell Elementary in Rockford to see how they jumped from being a lowest-performing school to a "commendable" one in just a year.

Peter Medlin

During a recent visit to an elementary school in Rockford, the kids were making catapults in the MakerSpace lab. The lab is one of the central hubs of the STEAM Academy at Haskell Elementary. It’s in a new modular building, housed next to their 60-year-old school.

On weeks they don’t get to work in the MakerSpace lab, students try their hand at Lego education.