STEAM camp is chugging along for West Baltimore kids - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jul. 2, 2015 12:49 pm

STEAM camp is chugging along for West Baltimore kids

Held at the Baltimore Robotics Center, the camp is organized with Code in the Schools, FutureMakers and Access Art. But it almost didn't happen.

Naashar Brown shows off her new fan.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

As a result of her morning’s work on Tuesday, Naashar Brown has a fan to keep cool.

As a toy-hacking session wrapped up at the Baltimore Robotics Center in West Baltimore, the 9-year-old from Sandtown-Winchester showed us how she assembled a motor, speaker housing and copper parts to make a working fan.

“This right here is from a bike,” she said, pointing to the casing around the battery.

As part of a five-week STEAM camp, Brown and others will have more chances to code, make art and get some robot time.

The camp has room for about 20 students, all of whom are from neighborhoods in West Baltimore. Kids attend from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and get breakfast and lunch. There will also be field trips.

Gretchen LeGrand and Code in the Schools are running the camp, and tapped maker education coaching venture FutureMakers (which is based out of the Robotics Center) and Access Arts, as well as the Baltimore City Robotics Center for programming.

Ed [Mullin of the Baltimore Robotics Center] was really pushing for things to be happening here all day, everyday this summer, so we were glad to be able to accommodate that,” said LeGrand, Code in the Schools’ executive director.

The camp came together in quick fashion. Initially, the group didn’t think it would be receiving funding. But the Annie E. Casey Foundation awarded the grant after the unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral, and the group was able to get additional support.

It’s the first time Code in the Schools has organized a camp, said LeGrand. Usually, the organization partners with other groups who have the administrative work down to science, and are invited to offer their coding instruction. But LeGrand said she’s always asked if Code in the Schools will be running summer programs for kids when there’s no school.

“We’ll probably do this more frequently in the summer, now that we’ve gotten our feet wet,” she said.

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