STEM-X offers a wide variety of interdisciplinary classes every summer for students entering grades 1-9.
This year STEM-X will be held from June 7-18, 2021. The first week of camp will be at Poudre High School and the second week at Preston Middle School. The classes are offered at three levels: Early Elementary for students entering grades 1-3 in Fall 2021, Elementary for grades 4-5, and Middle School for grade levels 6-9. Class sizes are limited to 10 students per class for Early Elementary, and 15 per class for Elementary and Middle School levels. In order to apply for admission, students must submit applications which include a recommendation from a teacher. Once admitted, based on the availability of seats remaining, students get to choose which classes they’d like to take.
Each class is held over one week and most are either mornings-only or afternoons-only, which allows students to take up to two classes each week. Students may also opt for attending for one week or both. Lunch is provided, and in order to minimize shuttling for parents and guardians, early care is an option available to younger students who have older siblings since Middle School classes start earlier than Early Elementary and Elementary classes.
A wide variety of classes are offered, and your best bet to learn more about them is to see the description for each class on their website. For each of the classes, there is a showcase at the end of the week which allows students to demonstrate what they’ve learned to their parents, guardians, and siblings. While the content of the classes varies, they are all project-based learning opportunities and teachers allow student-interest to determine the direction the classes take. They strive to make students comfortable with and accustomed to being creative, making decisions, making modifications, and collaborating and communicating with their peers and teacher to think critically in order to find solutions.
Teachers are all certified, have teaching experience, and are excited about the opportunity to create and teach classes based on their own interests. They are afforded the experience of teaching classes with smaller teacher-to-student ratios and with a specific focus that allows for student-led creativity. Furthermore, the students (with their parents/guardians) are choosing each of the classes they take, so teachers appreciate that their students are really excited about being in those classes!
When the program was initiated 13 years ago, true to its initial designation “STEM Institutes”, the focus was primarily only on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses. However, over the past few years, there has been intentional expansion to include classes that would be considered more Arts, Theater, and Music-based—hence, the renaming to “STEM-X”. This was enacted with the understanding that none of these disciplines exists in isolation and there is opportunity for all to be interwoven.
The immediate benefit of summer camps, such as STEM-X, is that they keep students engaged over the summer months camps, reduce summer learning loss, and give them the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve gained over the school year. With respect to the long-term gain, STEM-X’s aim is to help students develop skill sets to thrive in any field, but in particular to give them opportunities to learn more about and build a sense of belonging in STEM fields. Their overarching mission is to create confidence and competence in ALL students in ALL fields, but more specifically, one of their primary goals is to reduce the gender gap to broaden all students’ academic and professional opportunities in STEM fields.
For more information, particularly for info on each class, they’ll be offering this summer, tuition prices, and the application process, check out their website at www.stem-x.org.