No Tech Summer STEAM Enrichment

STEAM education doesn’t require fancy gadgets to be successful. What's important is that learners are immersed in hands-on experiences that target real-world skills. Whether you're an experienced educator or just getting started, no-tech programs are great options for facilitating lessons with little fuss or trepidation.

PCS Edventures’ enrichment camps offer over 12 hours of manipulative-based learning that can be adapted to fit the duration of your summer program. Lesson extensions and activities provide ample choices that are sure to excite learners and keep them busy throughout the day, week, or even the whole summer.

Let’s look into three flexible programs that fully engage learners without the use of technology:

Dirt Camp:

  • Grades 1-3
  • 12+ contact hours
  • Refill kit available

BrickLAB Core:

  • Grades 1-6
  • 12+ contact hours
  • 100% reusable

Da Vinci Camp:

  • Grades 4-6
  • 12+ contact hours
  • Refill kit available

These all-inclusive programs provide access to high-quality curriculum with materials for up to 30 learners. If you have multiple class groups, various grades, or even different student groupings, don’t fret! Our materials can be shared, divided and organized to fit your needs

Curious about the most effective way to divvy up learners and resources? Check out Student Grouping Strategies to Maximize Engagement.

Dirt Camp (Grades 1-3):

Our Dirt Camp Enrichment Program offers the most authentic kid experience there is — no screens and lots of dirt-based learning! As the National Wildlife Foundation (2012) points out, learners who are getting their hands dirty, whether through gardening, digging for worms, or making mud pies, often have better moods, less anxiety and more control over their learning. Mix in a bit of STEAM and soon they are too busy having fun to notice just how much they’re learning.

So what are some Dirt Camp activities that get learners’ heads out of a digital cloud and their hands deep in soil?

  • Soil Engineers: Create beaver dams and swallow nests from organic materials just like the animals themselves!
  • Bug Hunts: Make observations about the tunnelers, decomposers and hunters crawling through your local soil.
  • How Strong is Dirt? You might be surprised by the answer. Learn how to reinforce dirt to make it strong enough to support the weight of cars without any special technology or materials.
  • See these examples and more in our What is Dirt Camp? video:

Take advantage of this exciting, hands-on program and discover how easily it engages learners in STEAM without any fancy devices. After all, exploring the great outdoors is the ultimate no-tech experience.

Ready to get a little messy in the name of learning? Download Exploring Earthworms with Dirt Art for a free, tech-free experience inspired by activities found in Dirt Camp.

BrickLAB Core (Grades 1-6):

Building bricks have been around for years and for good reason! First, they're reusable. Once learners get the hang of building bricks, they'll want to continue learning with them again and again. Bricks also make learning visual, helping learners to see things differently and approach challenges with an open mind. Explore this classic tool’s versatility and value in The Many Uses of Building Bricks. It’s the timeless, no-tech tool that keeps on giving!

BrickLAB Core is an all-time favorite summer program. It’s a single source of materials with extensive curriculum options for endless hours of fun, screen-free learning and building.

BrickLAB curriculum sets are developed specifically to fit the needs of a wide range of learners and grade-specific standards. All programs offer educators numerous cross-curricular lessons to accelerate learning. Each kit includes three, one-hour lessons in Science, Math, Social Studies and Language Arts for over 12 hours of hands-on engagement.

What are some no-tech activities that boost student achievement across subjects? Here are a few grade-level examples from our BrickLAB Core programs:

Grade 1:

Building a Community (Social Studies): Build a model of a community with businesses, community services, homes and roadways. Then, explore how humans modify their environment and the impact it makes on Earth.

Grade 2:

Heat Absorption (Science): Build brick containers to complete an investigation, and collect data to determine if dark colors absorb more heat than light colors.

Grade 3:

Math Maze (Math): Use bricks to build mazes, then calculate time by tracking the minutes it takes to enter and exit the maze.

Grade 4:

Parts of Speech (ELA): Create and write sentences using bricks! Then craft jingles that reinforce the eight parts of speech.

Grade 5:

Earth’s Core (Science): Identify the different layers that make up the Earth and construct a cross section of the layers of the Earth from bricks.

Grade 6:

Volume (Math): Build different sized objects from bricks and find the volume, area and perimeter of each.

Da Vinci Camp (Grades 4-6):

Without the use of modern-day technology, Leonardo Da Vinci made many valuable discoveries in STEAM — and your kids can, too! 500 years ago, there were no computers to help Da Vinci answer his myriad of questions. So, how did he satisfy his curiosity? All you need is a little time travel to find out. With Da Vinci Camp, learners go back in time and engage in hands-on STEAM activities using no-tech materials like journals, mirrors, bricks and pencils.

How do we challenge learners to put their screens away and take it back to the basics? Let’s take a look at how our program tasks learners with reading, writing, studying math concepts and building:

  • Mirror Writing: Use materials similar to a quill and ink to test two prevailing hypotheses about why Da Vinci used mirror writing.
  • Fractals: Identify fractals (repeated, geometric shapes) in nature, and discover why trees have branches.
  • Make Accurate Maps: Compare three different cartography perspectives by replicating brick cities.
  • See these examples and more in our What is Da Vinci Camp? video.

Da Vinci Camp explores many of today’s advancements without using today’s modern devices. What’s more, when learners put away their tech, they become as inquisitive as Da Vinci himself.

Get Started with No-Tech STEAM in No Time!

PCS Edventures’ many no-tech lessons make STEAM education accessible to educators and learners alike. Need more inspiration to fill your summer camp program? Download or order a free STEAM Enrichment catalog to explore all your rich curriculum options.

Educators, AsSTEMble!

In every learning environment, no-tech tools can really make a difference. SHARE this post on social media to help educators like you add quality, screen-free tools to their super-teacher utility belts.

Subscribe to join the PCS Edventures STEMbassador Community. Receive exclusive perks and offers throughout the year.

Authors:

Jessica Ventre

An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.

Marissa Rosol

As a 4th-grade elementary teacher and instructional coach, Marissa believes hands-on learning is the key to student engagement. Her love for literacy, STEAM and student collaboration guides her instruction and professional development sessions.



References:

National Wildlife Federation. (2012). The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids. Www.Nwf.Org. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Be%20Out%20There/Dirt_Report_2012.ashx

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