ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 15, 2021) – Students in 5th through 10th grade can hone their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through an Army educational program to be held this summer.
For the 27th year, the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – a component of the Army Futures Command (AFC)’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) – will be offering its Math and Science Summer Camp. This year’s program will be offered virtually due to COVID-19 precautions.
The camp gives students exposure to a variety of science and engineering topics with the goal of increasing their interest in topics they may be unfamiliar with, according to Jacqueline Burr, the C5ISR Center employee who developed the camp’s innovative curriculum.
Fifth and 6th-grade students will be challenged with the Great STEM Escape, with modules in the science of chemical reactions, the technology of roller coasters, the engineering design process, using the concepts of force, area and pressure, and how math relates to art. Seventh and 8th graders will learn how STEM is involved in sports, television, entertainment and mini-golf. STEM from the Crypt(ology) is the focus for 9th- and 10th-grade students, and they will study the history and art of writing and solving codes – from the times of Julius Caesar to today.
Burr wanted to ensure that each group would have fun and meaningful experiences during the camp. For the youngest students, she developed escape room challenges that will allow participants to use what they’ve learned from that day to solve clues and “escape” the virtual room. Middle schoolers will be tasked with using materials commonly found around the house to solve the challenges presented. The two high school camp classes will write daily coded messages for the other class to solve.
The curriculum takes into account feedback from last years’ virtual session, in which students asked for more interaction with their fellow campers.
“Most students have been attending school virtually most, if not all, of the time,” said Erica Fineman-Bertoli, the C5ISR Community Outreach team lead who oversees the program. “There is serious screen fatigue going on, and we have to make sure that we are building something that takes into account the realities of being a kid during this time, and that means flexibility and meeting the students where they are so that we can build the best possible experience for them.”
Maryland state-certified teachers will facilitate all sessions. Additionally, a member of the C5ISR Center Community Outreach team will sit in each session to facilitate participation. Fineman-Bertoli stated that her team will be seeking opportunities to make each session a more “synchronous and engaging experience” for all students.
The Community Outreach team also plans to invite guest speakers, specifically subject matter experts, and they hope to include noncommissioned officers to supplement students’ learning experience.
“It’s so valuable to have another perspective,” Burr said. “I develop the curriculum, the teacher teaches the content, but the real magic is when someone comes that actually does this thing for a living, and the kids can see what it’s like to work in a lab at Aberdeen Proving Ground.”
The camp will be held over the course of three weeks starting July 26. Although camp registration is closed, additional STEM educational opportunities for school-aged children can be found on the C5ISR Center’s Community Outreach programs at https://c5isr.ccdc.army.mil/student_programs/.
The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of U.S. Army DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is an AFC major subordinate command.