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Middle Schoolers Explore STEM Fields During BAM! Academic Summer Enrichment Program
Posted 07/05/2017 01:25PM


55 middle schoolers from across the region attended Central Catholic’s first-ever BAM! (Because Academics Matter) Summer Enrichment Program, held June 19 – 30.

The BAM! curriculum was centered on improving mathematics and writing skills while giving students the opportunity to explore interests in STEM fields in an engaging, hands-on way. Students also had the opportunity to explore their interests with elective classes, including robotics, forensics, engineering and 3d design and printing.

Morning classes were led by Central Catholic faculty with a variety of different backgrounds, including Biology and Environmental Science teacher Mrs. Cassie Sirockman-Bell, as well as current student volunteers. Afternoon add-on programs provided opportunities for students to explore a range of athletic and academic interests, including, crew, robotics, molecules and science. 

“BAM! immersed students into the culture of Central Catholic, while exposing them to the academics, teachers and advanced equipment available to students in the new Zupancic Family STEM Education Center,” said Sirockman-Bell. “In addition, the students were guided by current student camp counselors that gave students direction in the classroom and during free time.  Watching those current students interact with the middle schoolers showed evidence of the sense of service, scholarship and faith that a Central Catholic student learns.” 

In addition to Central Catholic’s faculty and student volunteers, students received interactive learning opportunities from professional guest speakers, including Steven Reinstadtler, Market Manager – Construction Coatings at Covestro, LLC, who assisted with Chemistry teacher Mrs. Maddie Ranade’s afternoon add-on programs. The two programs, titled Magical Molecules and Funky Science, explored chemistry concepts such as ionic reactions, introductions to the periodic table, chromatography, crystallization, and bubble-ology.

“The students were very engaged with the hands-on experiment that demonstrated the concepts of exothermic and endothermic reactions.” Said Reinstadtler. “It was great to see them running around the room like a…well…molecule when we conducted the color chromatography experiment. It was personally rewarding to be engaging these students both days in such an awesome building dedicated specifically to STEM learning – a topic that is very important to me.”

Recently opened in August 2016, the Zupancic Family STEM Education Center provided a welcoming environment for students to explore STEM topics. Students had the opportunity to use the state-of-the-art lab equipment, as well as experiment with 3D printers and Lego NXT Robots.

“The BAM! camp was a huge success,” said Mr. Adam Kronebusch, Mathematics Department Chair. “Our teachers and high school counselors did a great job of creating a fun environment while engaging the campers in mathematics, writing, science, and more. I’m excited to see the program grow over the coming years and show off how great our school is to younger students.”

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