epiSTEMic, a summer program offered by the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education for children in grades K-6, aims to develop children's knowledge and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Created by Dr. Sumi Hagiwara, and Dr. Linda Wise, faculty members in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Literacy Education, the program supports student learning through small-group, project-based instruction that fosters excitement for learning, persistence with problem solving, and creativity to inquire and explore the world around them. This was the third year of the camp that enrolled 19 students from grades 2-8. This year's theme, "Food, Water, Shelter", included projects such as: experiments to explore how salt effects the temperature of ice, make ice cream with minimal technology, design challenges to create a water balloon catapult, a team-shelter challenge, and problem solving related to theme topics in Minecraft, and Scratch. epiSTEMic students served as daily camp bloggers, photographers, and videographers who reported on daily activities on our epiSTEMic Edmodo site. Campers and staff were visited by experts in the field such as Mr. Joel Levin, creator of Minecraftedu, who provided professional development for faculty; Ms. Pat Hough, a middle-school computer teacher, who was our lead instructor of Scratch; and Mr. Christopher Delaney, mechanical engineer, who shared his insights and experiences with engineering.
The epiSTEMic program also provided opportunities for Montclair State University (MSU) students to develop their experiences with teaching and learning. Students enrolled in the summer section of the early childhood and elementary methods course partnered with the camp to learn from and with children to create interactive science and math learning centers, and explore the integration of digital technologies in the classroom. Advanced elementary teacher certification students interned to develop their skills with STEM curriculum development, instruction, and assessment.
epiSTEMic is offered during the month of July and partners with the ECELE Summer Literacy Enrichment Camp and the CEHS ADP Center.