STEM summer programs help counter learning loss

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When the final bell of the year rings, hoards of chattering students grab their books, toss old papers in the air, and get ready for the best season of all–summer. For most K-12 students, summer time offers a welcome break from the lectures, homework and tests of the school year. But in the blissful delirium of sunshine and dripping grape popsicles, many kids don’t realize that they’re losing a significant amount of the knowledge they worked all year to learn.

Garry Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, says that students lose up to two to three months of school learning over the summer. In reading, low-income students are hit the worst by what is known as, “the summer slide.” Huggins says that these students are disproportionately affected by summer learning loss because they don’t have the same access to activities like summer programs and museum visits as their wealthier peers.

In math, however, the summer slide falls between two and three months of loss across all income levels.

Huggins says that the most common theory for why math sees across-the-board losses is that, “There’re a lot of families that encourage their kids to read and their kids have access to good reading material that fits their interest… but not a lot of us sit around and work on math skills.”

One way to combat these losses is through summer camp. North Carolina, for example, has a wide range of STEM related camps that will help kids not only maintain but also increase their knowledge of math and science in the summer months.

The database below is searchable and full of NC STEM summer camps. Filter by school-level by typing elementary, middle, or high school into the search bar.  You can also search by the subject area of the program including engineering, biology and others.


ProgramGrade CostSpecializationDescriptionDates for Summer '13GenderLocation
9, 10, 11, 12
FreeAgricultureStudents live on the NCSU campus for two weeks and learn about plant sciences from university professors.June 17-28AllNCSU
The Engineering Place: Elementary ProgramsElementary School
3, 4, 5
$250-$350EngineeringWeek long day camps where students learn about engineering through hands on activities. Activities have included rocket design, silly putty, and more.June, July, AugustAllRaleigh, Rocky Mount, Hickory, and Wilmington
The Engineering Place: Middle School ProgramsMiddle School
6, 7, 8
$250-$350EngineeringWeek long day camps where students learn about engineering from hands-on activities including shoe design, squishy circuits, egg drops and more.June, July, AugustAllRaleigh, Rocky Mount, Hickory, Havelock, and Wilmington
The Engineering Place:The Basics for 9th and 10th GradersHigh School
9, 10
$250-$350EngineeringWeek long day camp offering students the opportunity to experience engineering, science and technology at NC State.JulyAllRaleigh, Rocky Mount
The Engineering Place: the Basics for 11th and 12th GradersHigh School
11, 12
$675-$775EngineeringStudents live on the NCSU campus for a week and explore a particular field of engineering.June and JulyAllNCSU
North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Summer Scholars ProgramMiddle School and High School
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
$200-$400STEM and TeachingThe program’s mission is to prepare underserved students for entrance to a four-year college/university and careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and teaching.JuneAllNCSU
Polymer Day CampHigh School
10, 11, 12
$40Textiles, Engineering, Chemistry, ScienceIn this day camp, students will get hands-on lab experience, learn about the College of Textiles, and will print their own NC State t-shirt.July 25-26AllNC State's Centennial Campus
Poultry Science Summer InstituteHigh School
9, 10, 11, 12
$50Biological SciencesA four-day, four-night workshop that teaches students about scholarship opportunities, careers and industries related to poultry science.July 28-August 1AllNCSU
Summer College in Biotechnology and Life SciencesHigh School
11, 12
$1,243-3,231Biotechnology and Life SciencesA four week program in which students will take three courses in the biotechnology field.July 8- August 2AllNCSU
VetCAMPHigh School
9, 10, 11, 12
$475Veterinary medicineA five day program that helps students understand the field of veterinary medicine through presentations, demonstrations, lab visits, and hands-on activities.JulyAllNCSU
Young Investigators' Summer Program in Nuclear EngineeringHigh School
11, 12, 13
$1,200 Nuclear EngineeringStudents will spend 3 weeks studying energy sources and nuclear methods.July 8-26AllNCSU
Archeology Explorers Summer CampElementary and Middle School
4, 5, 6, 7, 8
$340-$575ArcheologyYour choice of 3-5 day or overnight camps where students work at the Berry site unearthing the secrets of the ill-fated Spanish colony that was once there.JulyAllBerry site
Sizzlin' Science CampElementary School
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
$189-$284ScienceWeek long science camps offering students an opportunity to care for live animals, create robots, make slime, build and launch rockets and more.June, July, AugustAllTriangle Area
Morehead Planetarium and Science CenterElementary and Middle School
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
$150-$360ScienceHalf day or full day camps are offered. Activities focus on science themes led by UNC students and graduates.June, July, AugustAllUNC-CH
Rock It LearningElementary and Middle School
4, 5, 6, 7, 8
$295ScienceOffers different programs with a variety of schedules. Uses an innovative science-based technology driven curriculum.Year-roundAllRaleigh
STEM for KidsElementary School
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
$291-$1475Science and EngineeringOffers 1-5 week programs. Some are interdisiplinary others are more specific including mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering as well as robotics and computer science.June, July, AugustAllNorth Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest
iD Tech CampsElementary, Middle and High School
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
$829-$879TechnologyiD tech camps offer a range of technology focused programs like video game design, app development and programming.June and JulyAllUNC-CH
Girls Discovering their Natural WorldElementary and Middle School
5, 6, 7
$250ScienceMeredith College science professors teach students computer science, biology, geoscience and chemistry while improving their leadership skills.June 21-25FemaleMeredith College
Computer Science CampMiddle and High School
7, 8, 9
$250Computer ScienceStudents learn the basics of computer programming and how to build a web site.June 14-18FemaleMeredith College
Plant Science CampMiddle and High School
7, 8, 9
$250BiologyStudents learn about the plant world through laboratory and field work.June 14-18FemaleMeredith College
STEM Exploration for Middle School StudentsMiddle School
7, 8
$100All STEMThis STEM focused program seeks to fuel student's interest in science, computers, engineering and math.July 8-19AllAtkins Academic and Technology High School
Atkins New Student STEM campHigh School
9, 10, 11, 12
$25All STEMThis program focuses on introducing new students to the Atkins STEM curriculum and on preparing them for high school.August 5-9AllAtkins Academic and Technology High School
Microsoft DigiGirlz High Tech CampHigh School
10, 11, 12
FreeTechnologyThis program seeks to dispell stereotypes of the high-tech industry and offer students the opportunity to develop technology.June 18-20FemaleCharlotte
Wake Tech Video Game CampsHigh School
9, 10, 11, 12
$270Computer ScienceStudents learn to create animations for video games.June and JulyAllWake Tech
Wake Tech Biotech CampMiddle School
6, 7, 8
$225BiotechnologyThis program gives students the chance to understand what biotechnogists do by participating in lab work.July 15-18AllBTEC BioNetwork Capstone Learning Center
Wake Tech Computer CampMiddle School
6, 7, 8
$270Computer programmingThis program introduces students to computer programming, software design and logic. Students learn how to create applications.June and JulyAllWake Tech
Wake Tech Engineering CampMiddle and High School
7, 8, 9
$270EngineeringProgram activities allow students to explore architectural, civil, chemical, industiral, mechanical and electrical engineeringJune and JulyAllWake Tech
Wake Tech Robotics CampMiddle and High School
7, 8, 9
$270RoboticsParticipants build and program robots using a new system called Roborobo.July 15-18AllWake Tech
Wake Tech Science Exploration for GirlsMiddle School
6, 7, 8
$225BiologyThie program introduces girls to anatomy, physiology , and genetics. Students will work in labs and create a final presentation to share with their friends and family.July 22-25FemaleWake Tech
National Environmental Summit for High School StudentsHigh School
11, 12
$490Environmental ScienceThe summit is intended to provide an opportunity for young environmental leaders to learn, create, share, interact, grow, connect, and build relationships.July 9-13AllCatawba College
CAMP Summer Day ProgramHigh School
9, 10, 11, 12
$50PharmacyThis program gives students the opportunity to learn about careers in the health sciences through hands-on activities and lessons from Campbell University professorsJune 24-28AllCampbell University
Carolina Pharmacy Leadership, Excellence and Development (LEAD)High School
9, 10, 11, 12
FreePharmacyThis is a one-day program intendend to prepare students who are interested in a career in pharmacy for college.JuneAllChapel Hill and Asheville
Marine Quest ProgramsElementary, Middle and High School
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
$130-$3,680Marine BiologyThese programs provide a range of different activities and program lengths depending on the participants age. In all programs students are introduced to marine life and science.June, July, AugustAllUNC-W
Action Science Camp for Young WomenMiddle School
6, 7, 8
$1,075-$2,095Environmental Science, Energy, ChemistryThis program provides hands-on experience in labs and in the field. Some activities inclue water testing, testing energy devices and making lip balm.June 16-28FemaleDuke University
Bioscience & Engineering Camp for Middle SchoolMiddle School
7, 8, 9
$1,075-$2,095Biosciences and EngineeringStudents get hands-on laboratory experience in topics like sensing, mechanics, communication and energy.June 16-28AllDuke University
Bioscience & Engineering Camp for High SchoolHigh School
10, 11, 12
$1,075-$2,095Biosciences and EngineeringStudents work in Duke engineering and medical labs. They discuss subjects like biomechanics, biomedical imaging, electrobiology, bimolecular and tissue engineering.JulyAllDuke University
Computer CampMiddle School and High School
6, 7, 8, 9
$705Computer ScienceStudents create video games, storyboards, and interactive projects through programming.June and JulyAllDuke University
Math CampMiddle School and High School
7, 8, 9
$1,075-$2,095MathThis program is aligned with Common Core State Standards. Students use math to solve problems, improve logic and reasoning, and find real-world applications.June 16-28AllDuke University
Summer VenturesHigh School
11, 12
FreeMath and ScienceThis is a state-funded program for academically talented North Carolina students interested in pursuing a career in a STEM field.JuneAllAppalachian State University, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte