Challenge Grant Update – MVU and Swanton Maker Camps

Carol Lizotte is a teacher at the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union After School and Summer Programs. The project for which she received SCI funding was the Swanton Maker Camp and the MVU Maker Camp. These summer camps provide opportunities for students to explore a variety of technology with an emphasis on creative expression. 

The MVU Maker Camp was a one-week camp for students in grades 7-12 which gave students opportunities to explore a variety of creative mediums including soldering, 3D printing, LED’s, etc. The Swanton Maker Camp consisted of two one-week camps, which met four hours each morning. The first Camp served students in grades 2-4 and the second Camp served students in grades 5 & 6. The purpose of these camps was to introduce students to 3D printing, Snap Circuits, LED’s and more.

Some of the activities and materials for the Maker Camps are provided through the national organization – MakerCamp.com. The MVU Maker Camp is in its’ third year and is a free program for middle school students led by a licensed teacher. The new Swanton Maker Camp is a fee-based camp facilitated by the Swanton School Librarian. The SCI grant was split between the MVU Maker Camp and the Swanton Maker Camp. The grant provided funding to allow a reduction of the overall fee for the Swanton Maker Camp as well as scholarships for 4 of the 12 weekly class slots for income-challenged students. 

The purpose of the Maker Camps is to provide students an opportunity to develop STEM projects that demonstrate how students can interact with the world around them and to explore and experiment with new materials while doing so. The instructors utilized the PEAR Common Instrument assessment to gauge changes in students’ attitudes toward science activities following participation in these programs. The results of the PEAR assessment showed that 89% of students demonstrated significant overall gains in science interest and 100% of students reported significant overall gains in critical thinking and perseverance from participating in the program.

The opportunities students experienced during these summer Maker Camps were designed to spark interest in STEM learning at an early age as well as at the middle and high school levels through a hands-on learning experience.

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