New Iqaluit STEAM camp sees high demand
Youth will learn about DNA, see how computers ‘think’ and try 3D painting
There’s a high demand for science and technology learning in Iqaluit, with an upcoming STEAM camp’s registration filling up in about 24 hours.
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, and each day of the camp will be devoted to one of these topics, camp leader Ben Westwell said.
“I’m really excited to share my enthusiasm [for STEAM] and to see the kids learning,” said Westell, who is leading the camp run by Pinnguaq, explained.
Pinnguaq — which means play — is a not-for-profit organization that works with Indigenous and remote communities to develop STEAM skills.
“That’s just an awesome feeling when you see a kid learning something and their eyes just light up.”
The camp runs two week-long sessions, the first beginning on Aug. 23 and the second on Aug. 30.
On the first day, campers — ages 8 to 14 — will learn about how DNA works, using strawberries as a hands-on example for experiments.
Day two, with technology as its theme, will be a lesson about how computers “think.”
On the engineering day, an egg-drop will challenge participants to protect an egg from a two-storey fall.
To explore art, Westwell will convert one of Pinnguaq’s three 3D printers into a 3D paintbrush, so digital paintings can be made into real-life art.
On the last day, the students will explore math by counting and dividing pizza slices.
The overall goal is to get youth in Iqaluit and Nunavut excited about these subjects, Westwell said.
“The more people we get enthusiastic at a young age, the better chance they [will be] at an older age and want to learn about it in high school and college,” he said.
The camp is the first in-person programming Pinnguaq has done for youth since COVID-19 related restrictions eased in Iqaluit, allowing them to end the summer with two five-day-long camps.
With all the spots in the two free weeks of camp at the end of August filled up so quickly, Westwell said the organization is looking at adding a third week.
If youth enjoy the camp and organizers with Pinnguaq see it is having a good impact, Westwell said it could “definitely” be run again in the future.