STEM@Home: Exploration Boxes

Your cheerful STEM Delivery Service, Miss Danielle

Ah, the start of summer in Michigan. Strawberry-rhubarb pie! Crisp, sunny days! Shockingly cold water temperatures at the Lake! But nothing says early June in West Michigan more than…. the annual kick-off for the Hope Summer Science Camps!

This year, of course, things look a little different for us. But nothing can keep us back from sharing hands-on science with local kids! We’re finding tons of ways to share STEM activities with the community, and the biggest, newest way is a little something we like to call ‘Exploration Boxes’.

Tell me more about these little Exploration Boxes!

Did we say little? That may be a misnomer. The boxes aren’t little (see Miss Danielle, above, in the middle of delivering Supplies Part 1 to a camper’s house). The 4′ x 4′ pegboards definitely aren’t little – just ask Miss Annie, charged with finding a way to fit all those Supplies Part 2 in our delivery vans. And the 47 kids involved definitely make this the biggest camp we’ve ever run!

Assembling the boxes at Schaap Science Center

Opening an Exploration Box means finding tubes, funnels, hooks, buckets, and more STEM materials that can all be hung and attached to the pegboard and used over and over to build your own contraptions like marble roller coasters and water runs. Twice a week, Miss Annie and Miss Danielle host Zoom sessions where they guide kids in designing their own masterpieces, using new and recycled materials – while introducing them to key concepts like friction, momentum, and gravity.

Miss Annie and Miss Danielle’s awesome marble coaster – created with plenty of trial and error!

Week 1 of the Exploration Box Virtual Camp kicked off this week and kids have created some incredible marble runs. Although we can’t meet in person, campers can share photos and videos of their creations (and challenges!) in our private Google Classroom, so the group can ooh, ahh, and ask more questions!

Check in with our blog all summer long to learn about all the exciting STEM that’s still happening with ExploreHope this summer. Camps may be closed for now but nothing can stop your curious mind. Keep exploring!

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