Six Upper School students got a STEM workout during the Cyber Discovery Camp held at Louisiana Tech University earlier this summer. Despite their small number, the Dunham team finished in second place out of 10 teams in the overall competition.
The small band of Tigers, together with Middle School Stem teacher Ed Van Haute and Upper School English teacher Lauren Hawkins, delved into the cyber world, exploring the mysteries of cyberspace, cyber security, coding and cryptography through activities led by La Tech professors. Participating in the weeklong camp were rising sophomores Maddie Benton, Joshua Harris, Jason Pere, Catherine Van Haute, Philip Van Haute and Devyani Vij.
“The camp was a combination of interactive games and serious conversations with experts in the field. The kids interacted with professors and college students every day and immediately had opportunities to use what they learned in a variety of activities,” Van Haute said.
Every morning, students learned how to build and program BOEbots (rolling robots), then were challenged to demonstrate what they had learned in mini competitions. Students also attended lectures on cyber policy and ethics, then writing daily essays based on lectures and reading assignments.
In the afternoons, students learned how cryptography and coding interact through lectures and teamwork as they worked together to solve a weeklong crypto-treasure hunt. Every day ended with a movie that followed the theme of the week.
Teams earned points throughout the week for performance on essays and in competitions. The STEMtastic week ended with a skit, written and presented by each team, representing their camp experience, and a robotics competition.
“The integrative design of the camp utilized students’ individual strengths as they worked together as a team, supporting each other in the various challenges and assignments. It was a wonderful experience,” added Van Haute.