Session 1 of my camp ended a couple days ago. Within seconds of the first day ending I knew we were doing it again next year. Such a great week.
There's always that small amount of dread when you plan a big event that attendance will disappoint. But no, everyone showed and were eager to see what I had prepared for them (no pressure).
I was equally nervous about how much I had planned, and maybe it was the time off, but I forgot that it's actually pretty easy to fill class time, students take (and need) a lot more time with things that you anticipate.
Quadcopters? A little quirkier than I expected. I only had a couple kids really into them, drones in the $40-50 range are tricky to control well. But, we had a good physics discussion about them.
Space? Great discussions here. I had to cut out a lot of my planned material. We focused on a few things. Main idea: space is hard. I had research some of the launch systems that have been used, the new ones under development, and we watched a bunch of videos. We briefly discussed the Curiosity and New Horizons missions with a few spoilers for the The Martian thrown in there. There was just too much here.
Engineering? We had a great discussion about my previous career and we scaled it down a bit with some spaghetti constructions. Materials had a cost associated with them ($1 for thin spaghetti, $2 for thicker stuff, tape was $5/ft), then we compared output and cost of materials. I had some research planned here but had to cut it.
Financial Literacy? Probably the most successful part. We played with Sheets for two days. We played with some basic formulas/functions and I gave them a task designed by my sister (an Excel genius) to work through.
Computer Science? Playing with Snap! was minimal, unfortunately. A longer camp would be required to do it justice. The Sheets stuff was a good, immediately practical substitute.
The kids had a blast. Many of them wished it was longer, and quite honestly, I wish it was too. Such a great time with these inaugural campers. We had a lengthy discussion about how to give the non-attendees #summerjealousy when they return for Calculus in August.
Next year will be huge (and probably backed by a grant).
Extra exciting? There's another session, it starts Monday, OMG!