A child and caregiver create a hydraulic lift at Summer STEAM at the Naval Undersea Museum in 2016. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum

Summer STEAM a way to introduce science on school break

KEYPORT — Summer STEAM returns to the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum starting July 5.

This weekly program enables students in kindergarten through 12th grade and their caregivers the opportunity to do projects and learn more about STEAM fields: science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“The activities themselves, some examples might be … making periscopes, working with programmable robots to learn about coding and sequencing,” said Valerie Johnson, director of education for the museum.

“It may be more on the artistic side, working with water properties to create porthole viewers into the ocean. We’ve done experiments with nautical signal flags. All sorts of things.”

Johnson said each activity usually takes about 20-30 minutes, but participants are free to take more time, as it’s a “challenge by choice” activity.

Summer STEAM is going into its fourth year, Johnson said, but she added it was around in a different format for “well over a decade.”

It’s offered every Wednesday from July 5 to Aug. 30 this year — Independence Day to Labor Day. The program is free, as is entry into the museum.

Though it’s recommended for students in grades K-12, Johnson said children not quite kindergarten-age are more than welcome to participate too.

“I know that we have many families, children and caregivers that come back week to week through the summer,” Johnson said. “The feedback that I’m getting in that regard is, it’s a stable and predictable source of high-quality activities, learning activities, for kids. And it gives an entry point to the museum for people coming to the Naval Undersea Museum at all levels. It’s sort of a very approachable challenge-by-choice learning environment.”

She added that Summer STEAM lets people “introduce themselves, reintroduce themselves or introduce their family to the topics” of STEAM.

Johnson said Summer STEAM is coordinated with other local educational summer programs to ensure nothing is repeated throughout, so whatever program they’re running isn’t also being simultaneously taught elsewhere.

“We make sure we’re providing a wide variety,” Johnson said. “We are much more heavily focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math. Other areas tend to be more focused on history and biology. [And] because we’re a federal museum, our programming is always free, as well as admission to the museum. All you have to do is get here.”

Johnson added that a couple days before each Wednesday, information on what project will be done that week will be available on the Facebook page.

The Naval Undersea Museum is also partnering with other local organizations for a week-long day camp, Camp CREATE, held at the Sylvan Way branch of the Kitsap Regional Library. In its inaugural year, Camp CREATE is put together through the team-up of the Naval Undersea Museum, Kitsap Regional Library, Puget Sound Navy Museum, USS Turner Joy, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, SEA Discovery Center and NAVSEA Warfare Center, in Keyport.

“It’s also very STEAM related,” Johnson said. “Throughout the week that the student is registered and comes to the camp at the library, a different partnering organization will be providing educational workshops and hands-on programs for the kids to learn from and participate in.”

Camp CREATE will be held twice: July 10-14, for fifth- and sixth-graders; and July 17-21, for seventh- and eighth-graders. Each day will be 1-4 p.m. at the Sylvan Way Library in Bremerton.

“At the end of both those weeks, there’s going to be a STEM showcase,” Johnson said. “Parents can come with their kids and they can see everything the participants worked on and the things they learned, and hopefully connect with the library and the community and hopefully give us some feedback so we can do it again and better next year.”

To learn more about Summer STEAM and Camp CREATE, visit navalunderseamuseum.org. The Naval Undersea Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through September. It is located at 1 Garnett Way, Keyport.

— Michelle Beahm is online editor for Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at mbeahm@soundpublishing.com.

Children operate robotic arms at a 2016 Summer STEAM program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum

A child shows off a signal flag message made at 2016 Summer STEAM. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum

A child builds a robot at the 2016 Summer STEAM program at the U.S, Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport. U.S. Naval Undersea Museum/Courtesy

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