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Students and Teachers Learn to Make and Create at Camp

Students and Teachers Learn to Make and Create at Camp

Students at STEAMmaker Camp work to complete their rubber band powered car.

More than 60 Oklahoma students and teachers challenged their creativity recently at Oklahoma’s first STEAMmaker Camp at Tulsa Technology Center’s Riverside Campus.

The camp, hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, drew teachers and 55 students from Dewey Public Schools; Madill Middle School; Morris Elementary School; Carver Middle School; Memorial Junior High and Walt Whitman Elementary, all three in Tulsa; Wells Middle School in Catoosa; Metro Career Academy in Oklahoma City; and Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.

ODCTE worked with ESSDACK, an educational service agency with headquarters in Hutchinson, Kan., to conduct the camp in Tulsa and a second one scheduled for June in Stillwater.

STEAMmaker combines science, tinkering, engineering, aesthetics and mathematics with the maker movement. Maker education is project-based learning that incorporates solution-based problem-solving and engineering in a movement to encourage students to make or build things.

At the camp, teams of two teachers and five to eight students entering grades six through 10 came up with answers to challenges, built prototypes and tested them.

“Seeing students take control of their learning through their interests, curiosity and creativity during the STEAMmaker camp was amazing,” said Rebbecca Brandon, a STEM teacher at Choctaw Middle School. “Through research, experimentation and redesign, the students were successful in problem-solving, and through self-exploration and research, the students were able to describe the hows and whys it worked. This type of learning is what our students need to gain 21st-century skills, and I am excited to have been part of it.”

The three-day camp started with a short video before student teams were challenged to build their own rubber band powered cars in an hour. The students designed, built and tested their cars before presenting them to their peers. Students spent time on modules like 3D printing, wearable technology and aeronautics and flight before mashing up modules, like circuitry and sewing, to build something to benefit humanity. Students presented their creations to their peers.

“I believe that teachers teach how they are taught,” said Ginger Lewman with ESSDACK. “It’s refreshing to have a statewide organization such as Oklahoma CareerTech embrace professional learning where teachers are doing instead of passively being fed information. At STEAMmaker Camp, teachers are expected to dive right in and guide their students by learning right alongside them as role models. Ultimately, that’s the type of active learning we want to see in our classrooms, right?”

Students heard from several speakers about nontraditional careers and how they might pursue options their parents never dreamed of. Instructors received coaching and learned more about using project-based learning strategies in their classrooms. The camp challenged instructors to lead in their classrooms without giving all the answers.

STEAMmaker Camp - Tulsa was an initiative of the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech in partnership with ESSDACK. Dream It Do It Oklahoma, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and Tulsa Technology Center provided financial support.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 393 comprehensive school districts and 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech System visit

Form more information about STEAMmaker Camp, contact Levi Valdois or Jeremy Zweiacker

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