Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[623] MTSU, City Schools alliance promotes STEM at Camp PRiSM

MURFREESBORO — McKyla Carter, just 9, liked all the learning so much at the recent Camp PRiSM that it “made me upgrade what I think about what I want to do in life.”

This is the kind of impact Camp PRiSM  — Practices in Science and Math — can have on the Murfreesboro City Schools children who attend each year.

Camp PRiSM is a partnership between the city schools and Middle Tennessee State University. For two weeks, two separate groups of students from The Mitchell-Neilson Schools and other city schools gain an increased awareness of the STEM areas, which include science, technology, engineering and math.

To view a video about the camp, visit

“Camp PRiSM is a camp that we focus on science and math practices, integrating technology and engineering as well,” said Kristy Lewis, fourth-grade teacher at The Mitchell-Neilson Schools. “The students that come into Camp PRiSM have a love for math and science already. I feel that they gain a lot of experience and a lot of exposure of integrating the technology in the engineering part into the science in the STEM activities.”

The gleam in Carter’s eyes expressed how much she loved learning about chemistry — and the periodic table — and the field trip to the airport.

“It has some of my favorite teachers and friends,” she said. “I don’t want it to be over with. This is the best camp I have ever been to.”

You could say a strong family tie has Tristan Moore, 11, a rising sixth-grader at Siegel Elementary School, on fire for a career in aviation and already committing to attend MTSU. His late father, David J. Moore, was a pilot and MTSU alumnus who died in May 2013.

Tristan Moore enjoyed the total experience of the Jean A. Jack Education Center and Flight Operations Center adjacent to Murfreesboro Airport.

“Their flight program is why I’m going to come here,” he said. “Their flight simulators are great, and when I’m 18, I want to be a flight instructor.”

“This has been wonderful,” MTSU chemistry professor Pat Patterson said after leading a two-hour session, which included making Oobleck. “It’s cornstarch and water, just a physical change.” For a second activity, the children made slime — from glue and borax — which shows a chemical change, she said.

A number of MTSU faculty and others assisted with the camp both on and off campus. The camps were held May 27-30 and June 2-6.

Fellow fourth-grade Mitchell-Neilson Schools teacher Alison Murphy worked alongside Lewis at the camp.

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