Return to Headlines

6/22/19 Summer camp encourages ABSS students to learn like engineers

Teamwork makes dream work

Phoenix Brown, Tristian Tiana, Quinn Garrett, and Armaan Miles watch how many marbles can be held in an aluminum foil boat before sinking. Alamance Community College hosted 19 rising 3rd-5th graders for the inaugural Alamance Engineering Camp, held June 17-21. The camp is a partnership of ACC, Alamance-Burlington Schools (ABSS) and North Carolina State University.

Photos by Robert Thomason / Times-News

Phoenix Brown, Tristian Tiana, Quinn Garrett, and Armaan Miles watch how many marbles can be held in an aluminum foil boat before sinking. Alamance Community College hosted 19 rising 3rd-5th graders for the inaugural Alamance Engineering Camp, held June 17-21. The camp is a partnership of ACC, Alamance-Burlington Schools (ABSS) and North Carolina State University.

Summer camp encourages ABSS students to learn like engineers
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 6/22/19     
Reprinted with permission.  

Elizabeth Ricks and Jessica Lewis listen to Michael Tilley, Coordinator of Engineering Camp brief the class on their next project at Alamance Community College hosting 3rd-5th graders for the inaugural Alamance Engineering Camp, held June 17-21. The camp is a partnership of ACC, Alamance-Burlington Schools (ABSS) and North Carolina State University.  

Elizabeth Ricks and Jessica Lewis listen to Michael Tilley, Coordinator of Engineering Camp brief the class on their next project at Alamance Community College hosting 3rd-5th graders for the inaugural Alamance Engineering Camp, held June 17-21. The camp is a partnership of ACC, Alamance-Burlington Schools (ABSS) and North Carolina State University.

 

In teams of two or three, 19 students from the Alamance-Burlington School System tested a “boat” made of aluminum foil to see how many marbles it could hold.

A new summer engineering day camp for rising thirdthrough fifth-graders allowed them to explore various activities tied to engineering. N.C. State University, in partnership with Alamance Community College and ABSS, hosted the week-long Alamance Engineering Camp June 17–21. The cost was $75 per camper with lunch provided, and scholarships were available.

Students learned about engineering through design, coordinator Michael Tilley said. While it was an educational learning experience, it also helped build character.

“We use a hands-on approach of learning where students can plan, create, design and build whatever the challenge asks for, whatever their device is or whatever their solution is for the problem.” Tilley said. “We use the engineering design process. First step is ask. Second step: imagine. Next step: plan, create, and then improve.

We put a large emphasis on the improve phase, not just with their designs, but with character-building as well.”

The students learned that teamwork makes the dream work.

“When looking at adult teams and children teams, the children are much more flexible and resilient in all aspects,” Tilley said. “If they fail, they will try the next step, which is even harder. They love to hear feedback and ways they can improve. They work well together in teams, and they make sure everyone’s ideas are incorporated.” Along with Tilley, two teachers helped facilitate activities and guided the students as team leaders. However, they found that the kids didn’t need that much guidance.

“The kids are capable on their own,” Brandi Hearing said. “We try not to give them too much guidance, besides telling them what the rules are. They come up with really interesting solutions.”

“This camp encompasses the beauty of learning,” Tiffany Vincent said. “They use their imagination and each other a lot.”

The maximum amount of students they were going to accept was 24, but Tilley was pleased with the enrollment considering it was the camp’s first year. In the future, Tilley hopes the program will expand.

“I hope next year we can have up to 36 students and more teachers, as well as new activities if current campers wish to return.” Tilley said. “They get to have that kind of exploratory learning, which I think is vital for everyone, but especially this age group while they are at their most creative and curious.”