FLORENCE — Starting Monday, area students will once again have the opportunity to put on their thinking caps and explore the STEM field at the University of North Alabama’s Summer STEM Camps.

A total of four camps will be held in the first half of June, allowing students to choose camps that best suit their interests.

All camp instructors are UNA math and computer science faculty, and all camp counselors are UNA students in those fields.

The first two camps, taking place June 3-5 and 5-7, will allow campers the opportunity to “Engage in STEM.”

Participating students will stay on campus for three days and two nights, taking part in activities related to astronomy, robotics, computer programming, engineering technology and mathematical applications, according to computer science professor James Jerkins.

Jerkins, in a UNA press release, said these camps will “promote project-based learning, scientific inquiry and the application of mathematics and computing in the context of experimental design, problem-solving, technical briefing and report writing.”

Through these activities, it is hoped students will gain skills they can apply both within the STEM field and outside it.

The Engage in STEM camps are open to all high school students in grades 10th through 12th. Campers will stay in university dorms and eat on campus.

The cost is $275 and includes room and board.

Students in grades seventh through 12th will have the opportunity in the third camp to “experience hands-on programming with modern microcontrollers and simple circuits.”

Unlike the Engage in STEM camps, the third and fourth camps—referred to as the “Computer Science Edition” camps—are day camps and will not entail staying on campus.

According to Jerkins, campers will convene from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 10-14 to build electronic circuits and create programs that manipulate those circuits.

The cost for this camp is $225, and students may register through June 9.

Those with an affinity for robotics will be able to learn how to program pre-assembled Parallax robots at the “Robot Programming” camp June 10-14.

The camp is open to students in grades five through nine. Campers will meet each day from 2-4:30 p.m. to create programs that allow them to maneuver the Parallax robots and use sensors.

The cost to attend the Robot Programming camp is $145, and the last day to register is June 9.

While no materials are needed for the Computer Science Edition camps, campers may bring a laptop on the last day for help installing a copy of the software used, which they will be able to keep, according to the camp website.

Prior experience is not required for any UNA STEM camp.

For information on each camp, or to register for a camp, visit una.edu/stemcamp.

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