Sunday, February 19, 2017

STEM Camp for Girls, Tech Trek 2016, I, Visit

AAUW Tech Trek STEM Camp for girls entering eighth grade is a priceless week-long STEM-oriented learning experience at a college--in this case, Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. Although SWOSU's was the first Oklahoma Tech Trek pilot, Tulsa University also began a Tech Trek camp. 

This blog focuses upon a visit on Supporters and Alumni Day. We attended almost all core classes from 8:30-11:30 a.m., stayed for lunch, and talked with and listened to instructors and campers.

This model has many STEM best practices and ideas that are adaptable on a smaller scale or possibly for a third AAUW Tech Trek STEM Camp in Oklahoma.

Core Class Tracks 2016 (June 12-18)
Science (biology, chemistry, geology)
Technology (app inventor course)
Engineering (hydraulics and pneumatics)
Math (Math in Unexpected Places)

2016 Team Names
Trekker teams by core class tracks chose their own names: Green Globulins, Radical Reds, Au-en (Golden) Girls, Chemistry Cuties, and the Aquanauts. The colors of their tee-shirts distinguished the teams. 

Math - First Class We Attended 

The math class focused upon parabolas. As people who had no confidence and no success in math, we were amazed that we understood completely the concept and graphing. What a surprise! Success is the result of the teacher and his/her teaching.

Pixar in a Box is valuable for learning how math is used to create animation software.

Each student learned about string art, parabolas, graphing, and modeling grass with parabolas. Instruction methods included hands-on activity, video, teaching, and working on their individual tablets. Algebra connected easily to geometry.

Creating their parabolas with string.

Day One's lesson was Tech Trek Architect, scale modeling.


Instructors for the camp are SWOSU professors with a doctorate, professional experts, and/or outstanding Oklahoma teachers who submit lesson plans for approval and selection. 

Each class has three instructors, one of which has earned a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education degree.

Camp counselors, Tech Trek alumnae, also stay in the dorms and accompany teams all week and assist in the classes.

Two questions for the Mathematical Scavenger Challenge include determining the approximate height of the administration building using triangles, finding the perimeter of the SWOSU "Y" Chapel, and rounding to the nearest foot. Students solve the problems around the campus and return to class with their answers.

Science Core, Geology - Examining Diamonds & Stones

Gemologists from Kelley Jewelers, an 85-year-old company in Weatherford, brought diamonds, other stones, GIA standards, jewelers' loupes for each student, and a special microscope for all campers to use. After some instruction, campers had assignments such as mapping flaws and grading diamonds. The tools, gems and other stones, passionate gemologists, and lesson plans made determining the Four C's--cut, color, clarity, and carat--and learning geology exciting.


Looking at Gemological  Institute of America (GIA) standards

In 2016, the cost of one attendee was $900. In 2017, the cost is $1,000, including room, board, field trips, class materials, etc.

Technology - Making Aps

Engineering - Pneumatics 

Trekkers were designing and building a claw to pick up an empty plastic water bottle. Teamwork was essential. In this task, the power to move the claw was compressed air (pneumatics).

Note this claw design.

At lunch these were our table mates. All highly evaluated their exciting learning and the model.

The Supporters Day Luncheon was supported by the SWOSU Center for Economic and Business Development (CEBD).

A Few of the Hardworking Adults 
Monika Belt, Cordell Public Schools, science teacher
Lori Gwyn, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Chemistry & Physics, and camp fundraising
Lisa Appeddu, Ph.D., associate professor, College of Pharmacy, and camp director
LaCreta Bowen, Certified Athletic Trainer, camp staff health director 

Tech Trekkers' Schedule
7-8 a.m. - Breakfast
8 a.m. - 8:00 Very busy 
9 p.m. - Journaling & showers
10 p.m. - Lights out

Some of the Offerings

Team Building
STEM Core Classes
Swimming & Rock Wall Climbing
Tie-Dye Goggles/Team Banners
Blue Thumb Water Quality Workshop
Math & Financial Awareness
Pharmacy Calculations
Rotary Professional Etiquette
Popcorn & Pre-Plan Robots
Journaling & Call Home
OK EPSCoR Climate Change
Professional Women’s Night
Thank You Note Workshop
Rotary Professional Etiquette Dinner
Life in College
Forensics & DNA Necklaces
Thank You Note Workshop
Field Trip to Devon & Oklahoma City National Memorial
Stafford Museum Visit & Picnic (families invited)
Awards & Graduation Program
(families & public)

Choosing Tech Trekkers

Math or science teachers of girls entering eighth grade in the fall nominate the middle "schoolers." The 2016 Tech Trekers came from the following Oklahoma towns all over the state.

2016 Oklahoma Tech Trekkers' Hometowns

The forty-four Tech Trek campers hailed from 29 cities, 30 schools, and 18 counties.

Burns Flat
El Reno
Fort Cobb
Oklahoma City

Note about AAUW and the Tech Trek Camp

Tech Trek is one of many programs by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) which strives to break through educational and economic barriers so that all women may have equal opportunities. 

Tech Trek originated on the Stanford campus in 1998 after founder Marie Wolbach received a Community Action Grant from AAUW. Since then, Tech Trek has spread to eight college campuses and ten camps across California and served over 11,000 girls. 

In 2013, four pilot camps were started outside California, which included Tech Trek at Southwestern Oklahoma State University(SWOSU) as hosted by the Weatherford (OK) AAUW Branch. 

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