94° F Thursday, July 27, 2017

Do you have a child interested in robotics? What about video games? Or, perhaps, in writing?

If so, the Bastrop school district may have just the answer for you and your child during those long, hot summer days to come.

The Bastrop school district is offering a series of summer camps, offering first- through 12th-graders the opportunity to try hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as other pursuits and passions.

The district first offered a series of summer STEM camps last year, and according to Jennifer Flood, a district instructional technology curriculum specialist who is organizing the camps, the idea this year was to again offer those camps but expand the offerings.

Although four of the six camps being offered do involve robotics, new ones this year include workshops in video game coding and in writing, she said.

“That’s the path we’re taking as we go, to add more camps for more pursuits, more passions,” Flood said. “I’ve always very firmly believed it’s not just about the robot and I’ve always applied that to the camps. In the long run, we’re trying to move forward to a more passion-based set of camps.”

The camps — which Flood last year described as being “the hardest fun they’ll ever have” — encourage and advance students’ interest and involvement in STEM topics, or video game design, or writing, she said.

Keeping students interested and engaged in STEM — or in video games, or in writing — is part of why the district is offering these camps, as well as why the district is expanding the topics of the camps.

“Last year after the camps, I was talking to some of the gifted-talented students’ parents and they were saying ‘Well, my daughter really liked the camps and enjoys the robots, but she’s really interested in writing, too,’” Flood said, noting the district wanted to offer the same fun experience for those with other interests as it does for those interested in STEM fields.

The camps — which will all be taught by Bastrop school district teachers such as Toni Malone, Peggy Perkins, Adona Frey, Rich Cawthron, Robert Vickery and Keri Weathers— will be offered in two different sessions of 10 students each to allow the best learning experience for all kids, Flood said. The second sessions don’t build on the first, but rather offer the same opportunities for a new group of students.

“We want it to be a resource for the whole community,” Flood said.

Each of the camps for elementary through middle school grades will be from 8 a.m. to noon, July 22-26 for the first session and July 29-Aug. 2 for the second session. Cost is $90 for each half-day camp.

One of the camps making a return appearance, “WeDo,” in which students build, program and test a robot built using Legos, is also expanding, Flood said. But another version of “WeDo” has been added this year, for rising first- and second-graders and will involve the same type of project, but on a simpler level.

NXT Robotics will be offered for rising sixth- through eighth-graders.

Budding video game designers in the fifth through eighth grades will have the chance to learn the craft in Scratch Game Coding, while fourth through seventh grade aspiring novelists and writers can take part in the Writer’s Workshop camp.

High school students may participate in Waterworks Underwater Robotics, which is being offered as an all-day camp, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during the second session only, July 29-Aug. 2. The cost for this camp is $175.

No prior experience is necessary to attend any of the camps, Flood said.

She does encourage parents and students to register, early, however, since enrollment is limited.

Sign-up forms are available at each Bastrop campus, at the Service Center, 906 Farm St., or by logging onto tinyurl.com/bastropcamp.

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