STEM camp

Students learn about light refraction

KENNESAW, Ga. (June 13, 2014) - Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Georgia Power, almost 100 Paulding…

Georgia (Jun 12, 2014)

KENNESAW, Ga. (June 13, 2014) - Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Georgia Power, almost 100 Paulding County elementary school students enjoyed a free weeklong summer camp focused on the STEM disciplines.

“Most of these kids would not have this kind of opportunity," said Terri Collins, Bagwell College of Education outreach coordinator and faculty in residence at the Paulding Instructional Site. “Traditional summer camps can cost between $250 and $350 a week, and for a lot of people that’s not feasible, especially if you have more than one kid.”

With a maximum student-teacher ratio of 6:1, Bagwell students and graduates led the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes, including “Sheeps and Jeeps,” which focused on inclines and motion; “Parachutes,” which included instruction on the properties of air; and experiments with electricity and light refraction.

“We’re trying to give them some experiences they might otherwise not have,” Collins said. “This is something we wanted to do for the community; working with the community is one of our primary objectives at the Paulding site.” 

Collins said research has shown students who aren’t offered opportunities such as summer camps lag behind their peers, and the gap only grows as the children progress through school.

“Without these kind of opportunities, these students are at a disadvantage,” she said.

Two camps were offered this summer: one for rising kindergarteners, and first- and second-graders and a second camp for rising third- through fifth-graders. And, as if the cost of the camp wasn’t attractive enough, Collins said camp hours were from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help accommodate drop-off and pickup for working parents.

“The students rotate between four different stations, and they're at each station for about an hour and 45 minutes,” Collins said. “They’re having so much fun!”

It was a statement confirmed over and over again by a parent survey.

“At a recent family dinner, we all held hands to bless the food, and Mark shared, ‘See how we’re all holding hands. If there was electricity passing through us, we would be a circuit! I learned that at science camp!’” one parent wrote.

Another parent wrote her daughter came home each day after camp and said, “’This was the best day of my life!’ She said this EVERY day when I picked her up.”

In January 2010, Kennesaw State opened its Paulding County Instructional Site in two buildings donated to the University and Georgia Highlands College. The “2+2” program at Paulding in elementary and early childhood education is a partnership in which students finish their first two years of undergraduate coursework with faculty from Georgia Highlands, then transfer to the Bagwell College for their bachelor’s degree program without ever leaving the Paulding Instructional Site.

This summer, the first cohort of students earning master’s degrees in elementary and early childhood education at the Paulding site graduated, and all are elementary school teachers in Paulding.

-- Jennifer Hafer

Photo by: Anthony Stalcup


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit