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

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

[Read More...]

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

[Read More...]

Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

[Read More...]

Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

[Read More...]

What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

[Read More...]