Campers create their own GO trains as part of STEAM project

Playing with toy train sets can be a highlight for many children growing up. Being able to build your own and have it run on a track is extra special. That’s why the kids involved with The STEAM Project Summer Camp will have memories for a lifetime.

The camp is not your average summer outing. This is project-based learning in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).

There you will find young people peering through safety glasses, artfully working with laser cutters, welding tools, 3D printing machines and bringing their own original designs to life.

“It’s a great time to see the potential that project-based learning has for kids,” said camp director Jay Wengle. “They are so proud of what they have achieved and in such a short time.”

This summer, a group of young campers collectively decided to design and create a GO train complete with a motor and track, making a number of stops in their model town of Richmond Hill!  There were two GO trains made, one resembling the current day locomotives and coaches. The other was more “funky,” designed courtesy of the youngest campers, known as the Freshkids.

The kids, aged 5 to 14 years-old, completely design projects from concept right through to the shiny, finished product. If they are tasked to build a simple toy which lights up, they must first build and test a working circuit. Getting from point A to B means campers learn and apply principles of 3D design and electricity, along with a number of other tech and building skills.

“We want to bring that same sense of pride and excitement to the regular school year,” said Wengle.

The STEAM project offered six different camps this summer, based on different themes. The Inventioneering, SpaceX, Spark!, Mega Machines, Extreme Engineering and Maker Faire programs each lasted four days. The final camp wrapped up on August 10.