STEM Camps Are in Session Across North Carolina


Published:

iD Tech teaches campers that math and computer science go hand in hand.

Photo courtesy of iD Tech

In a state where science, technology, engineering and math careers economically fuel cities and regions, STEM camps are educating the next generation of thinkers and innovators. If you have a STEM kid, here are some North Carolina camps offering curriculum for each letter in STEM.

S is for Science 

From technology to biology, science is an integral part of our daily lives. Many camps use nature, animals and traditional settings to encourage discovery, but nonprofit Project Scientist in Charlotte focuses firmly on providing STEM education for girls.

“Our mission is to educate girls who have a passion, talent or aptitude for science, technology, engineering or math,” says Senior Program Director Alyssa Sharpe. 

Based on research showing that women make up 55 percent of the nation’s work force but only 25 percent of the STEM work force, Project Scientist offers an educational camp experience that encourages girls to strive for STEM careers and develop the confidence they need to continue to improve. 

“A lot of girls assume that they’re born good at math or bad at math,” Sharpe says. “We focus on a growth mindset. Just like you’re not born a good soccer player, you practice and that makes you better; you need to practice these skills, too.” 

STEM-accredited teachers lead the camps and introduce campers to women who excel in a wide variety of STEM careers.

“Career interest and career knowledge are really important, so we expose them to a wide breadth,” Sharpe says. 

Learn more about Project Scientist at projectscientist.org.


T is for Technology

Susan Wells is nothing short of a technology education icon. She has been at the cutting edge of technology education as a teacher, principal, administrator and technology coordinator for 30 years. In her experience, she saw clearly how difficult it was to give technology education the time it deserved in a standard school day. 

With this knowledge in mind, she founded Camp TechTerra. Based in the Triangle, TechTerra runs summer day camps in partnership with local schools throughout Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. 

Wells says the camp sells out out every year. Students learn coding and computational thinking within a hands-on environment that honors safety, choice, exploration and fun. She says that although she knows every child will not grow up to be a coder, she wants to give each of her students an opportunity to learn.

“Our youngest learners are very open and brave,” she says. “Our learning is scaffolded. We start with code where you physically code, you walk the code, then we move into visual coding. We want kids to be excited and open to new tools and about trying new things.”

Learn more about Camp TechTerra at techterraeducation.com.

UNC Charlotte offers robotics and Minecraft camps for children in grades 4-12. Camp projects lead campers to use higher-level thinking, problem-solving and in-demand skill sets as they build a robot or code their own mini-game in Minecraft. Rising first- through sixth-graders also have the option of a half-day LEGO engineering camp provided by Playwell TEKNOLOGIES.

Learn more about tech camps at UNC Charlotte at summercamps.uncc.edu.


E is for Engineering

Since North Carolina State University in Raleigh is home to one of the consistently top-ranked engineering degree programs in the nation, we don’t need to look far to find engineering camp options. The College of Engineering offers the Young Engineers camp program for rising kindergartners through rising seniors in high school.  

“Engineering is the least known part of STEM,” says Director Susan D’Amico, which is precisely why it’s vital to introduce engineering to kids in a way that is accessible, she says. “Being aware of the difference that engineering makes in the world, from a kids perspective, makes learning it relevant. It makes the discovery of math and science purposeful.” 

Young Engineers instructors teach campers that helping people and solving problems to make the world a better place is integral to being an engineer, and they show campers how engineers often work together to contribute to a greater good.

Despite the program’s academic rigor, the camp is structured to make engineering fun.

“The number one goal is to have fun. If the kids aren’t having fun, it’s not going to work,” D’Amico says.

Young Engineers residential programs are offered for rising 11th and 12th graders, but day camps are provided throughout the state in Charlotte, Hickory, Havelock, Wilson and Rocky Mount. Learn more at go.ncsu.edu/esp.


M is for Math 

The trick to getting kids interested in math is to understand how it is applied to the things they already love. IDTech, which offers an array of computer programming camps at university campuses throughout North Carolina, as well a residential camp option for kids ages 7-17, teaches campers that math and computer science go hand in hand.

“Our goal is to inspire the next generation of innovators through a unique learning environment, and to expose them to things they might not be getting in their normal school environment, like computer science, robotics and electronics,” says Coray Cunningham, public relations manager for IDTech. 

When students begin learning how to program they must use vital mathematics concepts such as order of operations, logic and problem solving.

“As they’re learning to program, they are strengthening the logic skills they already have or are building a basis for more advanced math classes,” Cunningham says. “We blend fun into the summer camp with very tangible tech skills. Things get zany and fun but all students end the week with a project they can take home and be proud of.” Learn more at idtech.com.

Duke TIP’s Summer Studies program offers a three-week math-specific residential program for qualifying high-achieving students in grades 7-10. Technology and science courses are also offered. These programs take place at 13 college campuses across the country. In North Carolina they’re available at Appalachian State University in Boone, Davidson College in Davidson, Duke University in Durham and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Learn more at tip.duke.edu.

Though you may not be pondering your child’s career path just yet, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that out of the 20 fastest growing occupations, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science education. STEM camps introduce these concepts in a fun, memorable and enriching way to help prepare your child for whatever his or her future may hold.

Mandy Howard is a freelance writer and mother of three in Raleigh.

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Cost: Free

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Cost: $70/month

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Cost: Free

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More information

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Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
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Cost: Free

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Online at your Home
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Cost: Donation Based

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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: FREE

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Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
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Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
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More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
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Cost: Free

Where:
Online
PO Box 78951
Charlotte, NC  28271
View map »


Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

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Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923
Palo Alto, NC  94306
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Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle
Website »

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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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It's time to play... TAKEOUT BINGO!!!  Take a screenshot or download the game board. Mark off the locations you visit. Share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using #CRTakeoutBingo. Send...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
Website »

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We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

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Art Walk featuring local galleries and artist studios in historic downtown Hillsborough on the Last Friday of every month (no Art Walk in December).

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Hillsborough (multiple locations)
102 N. Churton St.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Hillsborough Arts Council
Telephone: 919-643-2500
Contact Name: Torey Mishoe
Website »

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River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

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The Engage Art Contest is a juried competition for original Visual Art, Music Video, Film and Performing Arts. The topic is the Spiritual Battle described in Ephesians 6:10-20 and related...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
PO Box 78951
Charlotte, NC  28271
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Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
Website »

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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

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Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

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PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

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PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923
Palo Alto, NC  94306
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Join one of our talented Mid-South Fencers’ Club coaches for a one hour virtual lesson to the fast paced and exciting sport of Olympic Fencing! This will be a FREE ONLINE class. All you need is...

Cost: free

Where:
Mid-South Fencers' Club ONLINE
125 N. Gregson St.
DURHAM, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Mid-South Fencers' Club
Telephone: 919-286-3100
Contact Name: Jeff Kallio
Website »

More information

It's time to play... TAKEOUT BINGO!!!  Take a screenshot or download the game board. Mark off the locations you visit. Share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using #CRTakeoutBingo. Send...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their fashion,...

Cost: free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Get your summer vibes going at the 1st Annual Hubb’s Beach Blast at Hubb’s Farm in Clinton, NC.  Hubb’s Beach Blast will feature two of beach music industry’s top groups, Jim Quick and...

Cost: 20-50

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 US HWY 421 N
Clinton, NC  28328
View map »


Sponsor: Hubb's Farm
Telephone: 910-564-6709
Contact Name: Tammy Peterson
Website »

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