Summer STEM Camp Provides Innovative Hands-On Learning

Aimed at exciting young students about the possibilities of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), The Center for Developing Excellence (CDE) Summer STEM Academy will again welcome over 70 students to Prairie’s campus this summer. Now entering its fourth year, the program has attracted 6th through 8th grade students from local area schools. And, it has more than tripled in size since being launched in 2011!

The goal — to present an innovative, multi-dimensional, and interactive, hands-on learning experience.The hands-on CDE curriculum, developed by experienced professionals, volunteers, and teachers has awakened an enthusiasm for the sciences while arousing a curiosity and imagination with middle school students in the city of Racine.

Curriculum has included units in planetary exploration, genetics, environmental science and even an archeological dig on Racine’s lakefront. Field trips to local water purification plants, state-of-the-art production facilities, and incorporation of environmental assets such as the Root River have been infused into the design of the programs curriculum. One of the most popular units last summer, Mission to Mars, gave students the opportunity to build small robots that were programmed to navigate a planet’s terrain. The small vehicle picked up samples that were taken back to the lab, and from there, students conducted flame, solubility, and chemical testing.

CDE’s STEM Academy has made learning relevant by providing students with real-world problems propelling their curiosity and investigative interests. Students are often unaware of the many ways that engineering, math, and technology make our everyday lives better. The camp expands that knowledge and fosters computational thinking, engineering design, modeling, systems thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. It sparks an interest and excitement so that learning becomes fun!

Spots are still available for 6th grade students!

The program is open to students in the Racine community, and scholarship opportunities are available. Please visit our website ( or contact Rick Craig for information ([email protected]).