A long running summer class provides an opportunity where kids can do activities such as rocket launches and egg drop at summer STEM camp.
The idea behind LaPREP, one of the longest running science, technology, engineering, and math programs in Shreveport-Bossier city is that mathematical formulas meet hands on measurement and imaginative ideas during the summer months.
Huddling over pieces of a rocket during one of the final engineering math classes were middle school students Jenny Yao, Khayla Maywether and Veronica Penales. The students are among the 55 participants this year in the summer program that gives minority, female, and low income middle school students the opportunity to focus on math and science and develop their abilities.
“The goal is for the rocket to fly high and come down without breaking,” Penales said. “They showed us some from last year so we can see what a fail is.”
Mack Evans, who teaches high school and college math, drilled the students in math formulas to prepare them for the rocket launch Tuesday. The teams calculated the rockets’ height and velocity as part of the exercise.
“This is engineering math,” Evans said. “I always call it hands-on math. There’s no set curriculum. We did whatever the kids are interested in if we can. We teach them to apply a concept to a variety of situations.”
Teaching assistants from Shreveport-Bossier City high school help the middle school students with their projects. An assistant from Captain Shreve High School came up with the egg drop challenge, a new way to test the youngsters’ innovation.
“You didn’t want your egg to break,” said Jenny. “My team made something out of toothpicks.”
Her team’s egg cracked. Another group’s egg ended up missing a piece of its shell, with only the membrane inside the shell containing the egg’s contents.