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Oxford and Beyond

NumberUp Innovation Girls STEM Summer Camp a success at Miami CEC

During this 5-day day camp, local girls aged 11-14 took on engineering, coding, robotics, and other STEM and entrepreneurship projects.

A camper works on assembling a propeller launcher kit during hte 2024 Number Up day camp at Miami University College of Engineering and Computing.
During this weeklong day camp organized by Miami University College of Engineering's K-12 Outreach Program, girls age 11-14 took on STEM projects in engineering, entrepreneurship, robotics, coding, and more.
Oxford and Beyond

NumberUp Innovation Girls STEM Summer Camp a success at Miami CEC

During this weeklong day camp organized by Miami University College of Engineering's K-12 Outreach Program, girls age 11-14 took on STEM projects in engineering, entrepreneurship, robotics, coding, and more.

This month, Miami University's College of Engineering and Computing was the setting for STEM inspiration for the next generation: Generation Alpha.

During the week of June 10-14, 2024, a group of girls 11-14 brought their curiosity, imagination, and creativity to the halls of CEC for the NumberUp Innovation Girls STEM Summer camp. This camp is organized each year by Joanna Hohn and the student associates of the K-12 Outreach Program she directs. The camp is part of the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT) summer camp series

During the NumberUp Innovation Girls day camp in Oxford, Ohio, participants are invited to explore Miami University's College of Engineering and Computing while learning about 3D modeling and the engineering design proces through hands-on activities, plus field trips to industry sites to see engineering processes in action. Read on to discover some of the activities, projects and challenges that went on each day!

Day 1: What is Innovation?

On Day 1, campers took on the “Cards to the Sky” challenge: using the engineering process to create a structure that achieved both height and platform stability.On the first day of NumberUp Innovation Girls Camp, campers explored the question: "What is innovation?" With Miami CEC students Abed-nego Cabrera Cordero, Brooklyn Lengyel, Nathan Bantz, Lisha Maharjan, and Shakhzodkhon Mukaddaskhonov as their camp counselors, the girls discussed innovative ideas of the past and explored their own ideas for the future. Campers got to know the engineering design process, and how they might use it over the course of the week in challenges and projects.

The campers learned that the engineering design process involves the following steps:

  • Define the problem.
  • Identify constraints on your solution (e.g. time, money, materials) and criteria for success.
  • Brainstorm multiple solutions for the problem.
  • Select the most promising solution.
  • Prototype your solution.
  • Test and evaluate your prototype.
  • Iterate to improve your prototype.
  • Communicate your solution.

On their first day together, the NumberUp Innovation Girls campers put this process to work through a challege called "Cards to the Sky." Working in groups, they were challenged to create a sturdy and tall structure out of a box of standard playing cards, one roll of tape, one tape dispensor, and scissors (handled carefully). The final design had to be capable of storing the scissors, the tape dispenser, and any unused construction materials  and then tested by being placed in close proximity to a fan. This challenge was a fun and creative first project for the campers to collaborate on, while also providing a hands-on learning experience on using the engineering process from start to finish.

Day 2: Hummingbird Kits and 3D Printing

On Day 2, campers spent the morning working on robotics projects incorporating lights, sensors, motors, and coding.On Day 2, NumberUp Innovation Girls campers used Hummingbird Kits to program, problem-solve, and explore robotics. Hummingbird Kits are created by BirdBrain Technologies, LLC, a research-based company that promotes gender equality and diversity in STEM with a focus on computer science, engineering, math, and robotics. The Hummingbird Robotics Kit NumberUp Innovation Girls Campers used in camp contains lights, sensors, and motors allowing them to build robots out of multiple materials and solve specific challenges posed by their counselors.

After an introduction into the kit and its parts, along with an introduction to block coding, the campers were able to solve creative robotics challenges and projects — like the creation of their own windmill obstacle course — before moving on to a TinkerCAD/3D printing activity after lunch! For this afternoon activity, campers got to design and print their own 3D printed design to take home.

Day 3: Crunch Labs

On Day 3, campers built a propeller launcher and tested it out outside!Day 3 at NumberUp Innovation Girls Camp was Crunch Labs day! Created by Mechanical Engineer and former NASA scientist Mark Rober, Crunch Labs kits provide hands-on opportunities for young people to create engineering wonders like the Propeller Launcher, which NumberUp campers got to build and test out for themselves on Day 3.

After building the kits, the campers went out to the CEC patio to launch their propellers. It was a beautiful day, and the propellers soared even higher than expected (with plenty of learning on physics and engineering mixed in with the fun.)

Day 4: Field Trip Day

On Day 4, campers took a field trip to see engineering in action — visiting both the Air Force Research Lab and Blue Halo, LLC.On Day 4 of the NumberUp Innovation Girls Camp, the campers went on a field trip to experience two site visits in the Dayton, Ohio area.

First up was the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where they were welcomed by Benjamin Leever, Ph.D., Chief of the Polymers and Specialty Materials Branch of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. 

Then it was off to Blue Halo, LLC for a tour organized by host Veeraraghavan Sundar. In both site visits, the campers got to see the engineering process in action!

Day 5: Drones and Entrepreneurship

On Day 5, campers flew drones in the drone cage and pitched their entrepreneurial engineering ideas in a “Shark Tank” presentation.On the last day of camp, NumberUp Innovation Girls campers got the chance to fly drones and present their final projects in a "Shark Tank" style presentation. The campers' projects were the result of an activity which emphasized the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering. The campers did a fantastic job both creating their projects and presenting them!


Camp photos by Shakhzodkhon Mukaddaskhonov '26 (Biomedical Engineering)
Day 4 Field Trip Photo courtesy of Blue Halo, LLC