Middle school students experience engineering with SCCTC

By Joseph Pratt

June 4, 2014

Joseph Pratt


Twenty five Scioto County middle school students have gathered all week at the Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) for a week-long engineering camp that the school hosts each summer. The young minds submitted applications throughout the school year and are using the program as a gateway for a possible career of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The week has consisted of various topics that were broken down into daily lesson plans. The students participated in everything from building a functioning cardboard plane out of materials, in which they have to measure and use the laws of aerodynamics; discovering the pros of factory lines, in a way involving ice cream; using physics to launch a ball, with a plan for the most efficient catapult; building a water-powered rocket ship; and more.

The summer camp is coordinated and instructed by three local STEM teachers.

Josie Collier is one of the three teachers who instructs and helps to lead the camp. Collier instructs engineering throughout the year at Minford and South Webster.

“We want to introduce the junior high students to engineering with hands-on projects,” Collier said. “The hands-on dynamic that they get is fantastic. It gives them new experiences with teamwork and there will be several jobs available that require a STEM background by the time this group graduates. So, this is our way of introducing them to the field by the time they enter high school.”

Paul Seeley is also one of the employees working with the camp. Seeley is employed through SCCTC and teaches engineering at Valley and Green schools.

“I think it is vital to incorporate the STEM programming into the curriculum,” Seeley said. “I was an engineer for over 35 years and one of the things that you find with kids going through regular academics is that none of these topics are in it. Also, this is a really complimentary course to physics and kids are learning how to apply their knowledge and not just have it as theory.”

Seely said that engineering is a beneficial subject for any student.

“Engineering is everywhere and everyone uses it,” Seeley explained. “If someone wants to put up a new mailbox, how do they build it? How do they dig a hole? How do they install it? All of these things involve the practices of engineering. No matter what you do, you’re using engineering.”

Alex Morris is a seventh grade Wheelersburg student and says he has everything planned out. Morris plans on attending Ohio University in the fall of 2020 to earn a major in religious studies and a minor in engineering.

Morris said the camp has been a great experience for him, since he has interest in the field.

“This camp is good, because it gives me an engineering background for college,” Morris said. “They had a real good group of kids here and I’ve learned a lot. The instructors are also really good at what they do and at teaching us as well.”

Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.