This year, Hampton Lutheran’s summer reading program looks a bit different than past years: It includes a STEAM camp.
But what exactly is STEAM? It’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) integrated with the arts.
This past school year, Mrs. Montoya did STEM classes on Wednesday afternoons with third through sixth graders to teach kids useful skills related to technology, engineering, math, and science. Students learned to program using Scratch and built NASA rovers and rockets. They programmed and tested EV3 Lego robots; they built bridges and had a paper airplane challenge.
The third through sixth graders were always so excited about the STEM projects; they were engaged and worked hard on every activity. So Mrs. Montoya thought it would be great to continue the STEM activities throughout the summer, and integrating STEM and arts activities into the HLS summer reading program was a perfect fit.
This Year’s Theme: The World of Fantasy
Mrs. Montoya developed this year’s summer reading program and STEAM camp theme: Dragons and Castles: The World of Fantasy. Here’s how she came up with this year’s fantastical theme:
“I usually pick themes from subjects or topics that interest and excite me. If it is something the teacher is excited about, I have found that most of the time, the students will be excited about it as well,” Mrs. Montoya says. “The first year I was at Hampton, I actually picked three or four different themes. Then I considered what project ideas I could do with each theme.
“I love reading stories from the medieval times (both fantasy and realist stories). When I knew I wanted to do a STEAM time as well this summer, I had wondered if I could do the dragons and castles idea as I would not be able to use our robots—even programming in Scratch would not go along with the fantasy theme. But when I actually sat down and thought of STEAM projects, I was able to come up with quite a few that I thought the children would love.
“Toward the end of this school year, one of my third graders asked what the theme was for the summer reading program. He has been coming every year I have done it. At that time, I had not completely decided. I was leaning toward a fantasy theme. But when he told me I should do castles, I knew I would make sure I could find a way to make that work.”
All About the Summer Reading Program
HLS provides a summer reading program and library time for kids in the community—both HLS students and kids who go to other schools are welcome to attend. Mrs. Montoya started the program a few years ago to encourage kids to read over the summer.
“I love books. I want all of my students to enjoy reading,” says Mrs. Montoya. “Over the summer, they have access to fewer books. So I wanted to make sure that they are able to get into the library and check books out to read.”
The summer reading program is a great way to help kids fight the summer slump and keep their minds active while they’re not in school. It’s also important that kids have access to new books to read—the reading program gives kids regular access to the school library during the summer.
When the children first arrive for the summer reading program, Mrs. Montoya has something simple, like a coloring sheet, for them to work on until it’s time to start. When everyone is ready, Mrs. Montoya gathers up the kids and reads them a picture book. She loves picture books and has even found ways to read them when teaching eighth graders!
After the reading time, kids can pick out one or two books from the HLS library and check them out for a week.
Next, Mrs. Montoya leads the kids in a project. The first week of the summer reading program, they made bows and arrows out of craft sticks and Q-tips, as well as quivers to hold the arrows. Of course, once the children finished making their bows, they had to test them out! Then Mrs. Montoya read everyone a second story to wrap up the library time.
STEAM Camp Projects to Look Forward To
After library time, the STEAM camp begins for kids in second grade and older. In the STEAM camp, children will explore the medieval world through the eyes of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
In the first week of STEAM camp, kids learned about the different ways books are made today. Then they made hand-stitched books.
Other fun STEAM camp projects this summer include
- paper making
- making inks out of berries and other items
- making feather quills to use with our inks
- measuring time with a candle clock (made by dipping our own candles), a water clock, and a sundial
- building a castle model (hopefully with a working drawbridge!)
- building a catapult
Some of the projects will likely take more than one week, so it will be an adventure to see how many activities can be done over the course of the STEAM camp.
Join Our Summer Reading Program and STEAM Camp!
The HLS summer reading program and STEAM camp run each Wednesday from June 12 to July 24 (except June 26). The library time will be at 9 AM Wednesdays with the STEAM camp to follow at 10:15 AM.
Kids from all schools are invited to attend the HLS summer reading program and STEAM camp. Children from preschool age through sixth grade can come to the library time. For the STEAM camp, we will be doing more difficult activities, so we want the students to be going into second grade through sixth grade.
To attend the STEAM camp, there is a one-time materials fee of $10 per child with a max of $25 per family. Please register below so we know how many materials to provide for each STEAM camp session. You may pay the materials fee at the school via check or cash at the first session you attend.