Team “Apple,” a group of five students, gathered early this week around a dismantled set of materials in the STEM wing of W.F. West High School. The group has been assigned to brainstorm a re-design of their model gravity car. The re-design wouldn’t be easy; they had access to a plethora of materials and what they didn’t have, they could create via 3D printing.

On Monday,  the University of Washington STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) camp kicked off in the commons of W.F. West High School in Chehalis. The week-long camp is co-hosted by the Chehalis and Hoquiam school districts from July 15 to 19. At the camp, students participate in workshops and activities led by University of Washington’s Engineering and Medicine students and staff, like Team Apple’s model gravity car re-design.

The first three days are focused on engineering with 3D printing, design challenges, gravity powered car races, and related activities. These projects have provided lessons for both students and staff.

“As a group leader and mentor of the students, I’ve learned a lot not only just by teaching them, but I had to learn the programs we use for 3D printing,” said Jay Lee, one of the University of Washington engineering student leaders. “This program has given me a chance to think as an engineer. When doing homework or assignments, I’m not thinking in a problem-solving way, but this STEM camp requires me to think like an engineer and requires the students to think like engineers.”

The campers are having a similarly positive experience.

“We are always overcoming obstacles to find the best solution collectively,” said Kyle Hanson, an incoming freshman at W.F. West High School. “I’ve met many new people, made some new friends — it’s been a great experience all around.”

On the first day of the STEM program, students were divided into random groups with the assignment to forage and arrange materials in the most beneficial way possible. For many, this is their first serious collaborative project.

“This experience has been really beneficial because it has taught me how to work with others and how to work together to achieve a common goal,” said Sam Mittge, another incoming freshman at W.F. West.

The goal of the program is to spark an interest in students in  post-high school education and give them background in the field of engineering and medicine.

The camp traveled to University of Washington’s Engineering department Wednesday to finish their designs and have them inspected by UW staff and students. The medicine portion of the program begins today back at W.F. West High School. Students will be given another collective task and then brought to UW campus on Friday to assess the results.





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