Twenty-eight students participated in the first ever Summer Scholars Academy at Missouri State University-West Plains.
The four-day program, which ran from July 29 through Aug. 1, gave sixth through eighth graders a chance to take hands-on classes with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) emphasis.
“Students learned mathematical concepts like graph theory, negation and vectors,” said Jacob Poulette, assistant professor of computer graphics and programming and one of the event’s organizers.
“They were introduced to some of the basic concepts of game design, programming and robotics,” he added.
“And, they learned about the iterative process of design in engineering, applied it by constructing their own paper rockets, then talked with a NASA engineer about the moon landings,” he said.
Students also learned about health information technology, horticulture techniques in the campus’ greenhouse, and technology utilized in the university’s programs offered at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT).
“Everyone seemed to enjoy it,” Poulette said. “They seemed to be having a blast, especially with the hands-on projects.”
Poulette said organizers are already discussing plans for an academy event next summer.
“I asked students about classes they would like see next year, and they mentioned ideas for classes in chemistry and physics, as well as art and history, so we already have some demos lined up for next year, as well as some ideas for classes,” Poulette said.
“We also plan on extending the focus to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) instead of just STEM. That way we can bring in more of the arts and humanities into the program,” he explained.