Imagination stations

Finding shelter from the acid rain is the first order of business after crashing on Planet Zak. This is accomplished by taping plastic garbage bags to the edges of tables and hiding underneath. “The lights flash on and off and the teacher comes around with a spray bottle,” says Sophie Vojta, 10, of Rolla.

Student at Camp Invention
At one "station," kids inspected the insides of electronic devices. | photo by B.A. Rupert

After the acid rain stops, Vojta and her friends venture out of their makeshift shelters to have a look around. But visibility is an issue. To solve this problem, the kids use their supplies (paper cups and strings) to build binoculars.
“At least I don’t have to do a math test,” says Jefferson Thomas, 9, of Houston, Mo.
But Thomas does learn that Planet Zak is 7,926 Zakian miles in diameter and that it’s 8.2 million Zakian miles from the local sun. He also discovers that the Zakian temperatures range from 36 to 136 degrees Zakius.
Vojta and Thomas were among the nearly 100 elementary school students who attended UMR’s first Camp Invention, a one-week day camp in June. Kids in grades one through five explored Planet Zak, took apart electronic appliances and learned what Newton’s Laws have to do with amusement park rides. Five classrooms in the UMR Computer Science Building were devoted to various activities.
An instructor, a camp counselor and a volunteer were stationed in each classroom to monitor the learning environments – which, as Newton might have predicted, involved lots of little bodies in motion.
One thing Grace Sutcliffe learned, though, is that dismantling a telephone at the “Take Apart” station demands your full attention. Sutcliffe, a fifth-grader from Napa, Calif., and other campers peered through seemingly oversized safety goggles at tables cluttered with old phones, radios, VCRs and computers. The kids were then given screwdrivers, wire cutters and needle-nose pliers for the expressed purpose of performing random operations.
This was the essence of Camp Invention – introducing kids to the inner-workings of things, letting
them play around, not holding them accountable for too much information that exists outside of their imaginations. Sutcliffe says she really enjoyed taking things apart. “I learned that the insides of phones are really shiny,” she says.

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]